Approximately 119,000 LGBT Workers in Arizona Lack Statewide Protections against Ongoing Employment Discrimination

For Immediate Distribution
January 6, 2015

Contact:
Laura Rodriguez, lrodriguez@rabengroup.com, (310) 956-2425
Donald Gatlin, dgatlin@rabengroup.com, (202) 587-2871

LOS ANGELES — Approximately 119,000 LGBT workers in Arizona are vulnerable to employment discrimination absent explicit statewide legal protections, according to a new report co-authored by Christy Mallory, Senior Counsel, and Brad Sears, Executive Director, at the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute.  Currently, four cities in Arizona have ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in public and private sector employment, but approximately 67% of Arizona’s workforce is not covered by these laws.
“A statewide law prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity would bring new protections to thousands of workers without burdening courts and agencies,” said Mallory. “Most likely, the cost of handling complaints filed under the law could be absorbed into the existing enforcement system with no need for additional staff or resources.”

Key findings from the report include:
• Several recent instances of employment discrimination against LGBT people in Arizona have been documented in the media, court cases and reports to legal organizations.
• In response to a recent national survey of transgender people, 77% of respondents from Arizona reported experiencing discrimination or harassment at work.
• Census data show that in Arizona, the median income of men in same-sex couples is 26% lower than the median income of men in different sex marriages.
• Approximately 67% of Arizona’s workforce is not covered by a local law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in public and private sector employment.
• Many private sector employers in Arizona have implemented their own internal policies prohibiting sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination, including 9 of the 12 Fortune 1000 companies based in the state.
• Public opinion in Arizona supports the passage of legal protections for LGBT people. In response to a national poll conducted in 2011, 78% of respondents from Arizona said that employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity should be prohibited in the U.S.
• A statewide non-discrimination law would result in approximately 56 additional complaints being filed each year with the Arizona Civil Rights Division.
• The anticipated new complaints could likely be absorbed into the existing system with no need for additional staff and negligible costs.

Findings from the Arizona report are consistent with national data.

For full report, click here.

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