American culture has shifted in recent years with a greater focus on equality. Many states have implemented laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Unfortunately, an unsettling number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) employees still experience discrimination at work.
Let’s take a look at some statistics about LGBTQ discrimination at work:
• Around 20 percent of LGBTQ Americans have experienced some form of discrimination during the application process.
• Around 22 percent of LGBTQ Americans have not been equally paid or promoted as compared to their peers.
• 27 percent of transgender Americans report being not hired, being fired, or being overlooked for promotion.
• In 2015, 80 percent of transgender employees report having been harassed or mistreated on the job.
• LGBTQ employees report offensive or harassing jokes in the workplace at the following rates:
o 62 percent heard lesbian or gay jokes
o 43 percent heard bisexual jokes
o 40 percent heard transgender jokes
What the Law Says about LGBTQ Discrimination at Work
Federal law does not protect LGBTQ Americans from discrimination at work. Currently, 28 states have no protection from discrimination, meaning that employees could be fired for being lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Thirty states have no protection against discrimination based on being transgender.
Because federal and state laws often do not include specific protections, many companies have implemented protections and benefits. Some of these include:
• In 2017, 91 percent of Fortune 500 companies had implemented non-discrimination policies including sexual orientation.
• In 2017, 83 percent of Fortune 500 companies implemented policies including gender identity.
• Around 21 percent of U.S. companies offer LGBT-inclusive family leave.
• Around 23 percent of U.S. companies offer LGBT-inclusive paid adoption leave.
While efforts may be leaning in a positive direction, there is still a great deal of work to be done in order to ensure that American workplaces are fair, equal, and safe for everyone.