Williams Institute Study: LGB Employment Discrimination Similar in Private and Public Sectors

Williams Institute Study: LGB Employment Discrimination Similar in Private and Public Sectors

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Today, the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law released a new study supporting that the level of employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is similar in public and private sectors.  The study analyzed discrimination complaints filed with administrative agencies in those states that prohibit sexual orientation discrimination, and adjusted the filings by the number of LGB employees in each state that work in each sector.

Overall, the study finds that sexual orientation complaint filings are slightly lower, but similar, for employees in the public sector when compared to the private sector. The filing rate for state and local employees is 3 for every 10,000 LGB employees compared to 4 for every 10,000 LGB employees in the private sector. Currently, there are not enough data to do a similar analysis of gender identity discrimination complaints and federal employees are not covered by these state anti-discrimination statutes.

“These findings of a similar pattern of sexual orientation discrimination in the public sector when compared to the private sector are consistent with prior studies analyzing data from surveys of LGB employees and other research,” said study co-author and Williams Institute Executive Director Brad Sears. “This is not surprising given the history of employment discrimination against LGB people which started with purges and official discriminatory policies in the public sector that were then adopted and followed by the private sector.”

“Although the data is limited, it also appears that employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation may be higher in local governments than in state governments,” said study co-author and Williams Law Fellow Christy Mallory. “This was the case overall and in six of the eight states where we were able to compare complaints of state and local employees.”

Consistent with previous studies by the Williams Institute, the new report also confirmed that employment discrimination filings on the basis of sexual orientation, race, and sex are similar.  When looking at all sectors, 4 race discrimination complaints were filed for every 10,000 people of color employees, 4 sexual orientation complaints for every 10,000 LGB employees, and 5 sex discrimination complaints for every 10,000 female employees.

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