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Survey finds only one-third of LGBTQ employees are out at work

Adriana Belmonte

07/25/2019

Some of the main reasons for this had to do with the fact that the individuals found it to be a private matter or did not want to be judged in the workplace.

“I don’t like to be judged, it would consume me, so I just keep quiet, but that makes me feel more isolated from everyone else as well,” one respondent said in the survey. “Being gay sucks!”

“Discrimination is prevalent,” another respondent said, while another stated, “I’m a teacher and teachers can’t be gay.”

According to the survey, 44% of LGBTQ employees have said they’ve experienced discrimination at work. “My new manager was homophobic and wrote me up until I stepped down,” one survey respondent said.

A total of 664 employees in the U.S. completed the survey, reporting that they work in various industries including health services, retail, education, finance, manufacturing, and technology; 115 of survey respondents identified as LGBTQ.

‘LGBTQ workers too often face a climate of bias...’

In the U.S., 21 states, along with D.C., have labor laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Meanwhile, Wisconsin’s labor laws prohibit discrimination based solely on sexual orientation. Seven states bar discrimination against public employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and four states protect public employees based on just sexual orientation. There are 17 states, including Florida, Texas, and Alabama, that have no workplace protections in place for LGBTQ employees.

Even though a majority of states in the U.S. have some kind of LGBTQ labor protection laws in place, that doesn’t necessarily mean all of the LGBTQ employees feel comfortable being open in the workplace.

In a statement to Yahoo Finance, Beck Bailey, acting director of the HRC Foundation’s Workplace Equality Program, said: “While LGBTQ-inclusive corporate policies are becoming the norm across America’s largest and most successful companies, LGBTQ workers too often face a climate of bias in their workplace — especially in the absence of federal non-discrimination protections.

“LGBTQ employees are still avoiding making personal and professional connections at work because they fear coming out will negatively impact their relationships with coworkers. This hurts not only LGBTQ employees, but the company as a whole through lost engagement and productivity as well as unnecessary turnover. Even the best private sector employees with top-rate policies and practices must do more to bring those policies to life across their operations and nurture a climate of inclusion for all.”

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