1 in 4 LGBT Employees Report Discrimination and Harassment in Past 5 Years

1 in 4 LGBT Employees Report Discrimination and Harassment in Past 5 Years

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Today, the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law released a report summarizing academic studies and other documented evidence of employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and the negative impact such discrimination has on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. The report shows that LGBT people continue to frequently report discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

According to the report, evidence of employment discrimination against LGBT people has been consistently documented over the past 40 years in both the private and public sectors. In particular, it focuses on studies that have been conducted since 2005 and presents new data documenting discrimination from the 2008 General Social Survey (GSS), a national probability survey representative of the U.S. population.

Results from the 2008 GSS provide recent evidence of discrimination from one of very few national probability surveys that have collected data about sexual orientation and workplace discrimination.  Among LGB respondents to the survey, 42% had experienced employment discrimination at some point in their lives, and 27% had experienced employment discrimination just during the five-year period prior to the survey.

“This new data shows that it’s still risky to come out about being LGBT in the workplace,” said study co-author Christy Mallory, Legal Fellow. “Therefore, it’s not surprising that the GSS data also show that one-third of LGB employees are not open about their sexual orientation to anyone in the workplace.”

“Recent studies show that pervasiveness of discrimination against transgender people in hiring proves have a devastating impact,” said Williams Institute Executive Director Brad Sears. “The devastating results of this discrimination are confirmed by the high rates of poverty and unemployment documented by surveys of the transgender community.”

Because of discrimination, and fear of discrimination, many LGBT employees hide their identities, are paid less and have fewer employment opportunities than non-LGBT employees.

“Research shows that LGBT employees who have experienced employment discrimination, or fear discrimination, have higher levels of psychological distress and health-related problems, less job satisfaction and higher rates of absenteeism, and are more likely to contemplate quitting than LGBT employees who have not experienced or do not fear discrimination,” says Ilan Meyer, Williams Senior Scholar of Public Policy. “In contrast, supervisor, coworker, and organizational support for LGB employees was found to have a positive impact on employees in terms of job satisfaction, life satisfaction, and ‘outness’ at work.”

Full report linked here.

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