73,400 LGBT Workers in Alabama Vulnerable to Ongoing Employment Discrimination

For Immediate Release:
February 21, 2017

Media Contact:
Noel Alumit, alumit@law.ucla.edu
Office: 310-794-2332
Cell: 323-828-5554

73,400 LGBT Workers in Alabama Vulnerable to Ongoing Employment Discrimination

71 Percent of Alabama Residents Support Legal Protections for LGBT Workers

LOS ANGELES — Approximately 73,400 LGBT workers in Alabama are vulnerable to employment discrimination absent explicit statewide legal protections, according to Employment Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Alabama, a new report co-authored by Christy Mallory, senior counsel, and Brad Sears, executive director, at the UCLA Law School’s the Williams Institute.

“Less than one percent of Alabama’s workforce is protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity under local laws,” said Christy Mallory, senior counsel at the Williams Institute.

The report finds evidence of ongoing discrimination against LGBT people in Alabama:

  • In response to a 2014 Human Rights Campaign Survey of LGBT people conducted in Alabama, 24 percent reported experiencing employment discrimination and 38 percent reported experiencing harassment at work because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.  In addition, 41 percent of respondents reported that they are not “out” at work due to fear of not being considered for advancement or development opportunities.
  • In response to the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that among respondents from the South, 92 percent reported experiencing harassment or mistreatment on the job, 30 percent reported losing a job, 48 percent reported that they were not hired for a job because of their gender identity or expression.
  • One locality in Alabama, Montgomery has a policy that protects city workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation.
  • Aggregated data from two large public opinion polls find that 81 percent of Alabama residents think that LGBT people experience a moderate amount to a lot of discrimination in the state.
  • Census data show that in Alabama, the median income of men in same-sex couples is 26 percent lower than the median income of men in different-sex marriages.

Employer policies and public opinion indicate support for non-discrimination protections for LGBT people in Alabama:

  • Private companies may adopt internal non-discrimination policies to improve recruitment and retention of talented employees, to increase employee productivity and customer satisfaction, or to attract a larger customer base.  At least five large, private sector employers headquartered in Alabama have internal employment non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation, and two also include gender identity.  Additionally, several public colleges and universities in the state, including the University of Alabama, Auburn College, and Birmingham-Southern College, have policies that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in university employment.
  • Public opinion in Alabama supports the passage of non-discrimination protections for LGBT people.  In response to a national poll conducted in 2011, 71 percent of those polled in Alabama said that Congress should pass a federal law to prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Findings in Employment Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Alabama are consistent with national data.

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