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Blog
Sep 03

America’s LGBTQ Workers

Labor Day is our holiday that celebrates and honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made in efforts to strengthen fair labor laws benefiting the economic well-being of the country. Within this effort encompass billions of workers. Many of which are LGBTQ employees still treated unfairly and made to work in unhealthy and hostile work environments.

Discrimination can be seen and dealt with all over the workplace. There are some laws set in place about non-discriminitory hiring, but discrimination doesn’t end in the hiring process. LGBTQ people can be passed over for career advancement opportunities, and face sincere setbacks from identifing LGBTQ. In a 2017 study, 1 in 5 LGBTQ people reported being discriminated against because of their Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity when being paid equally or considered for a promotion. This is known as the “gay glass ceiling,” where LGBTQ workers are significantly less likely to be in the highest-paid managerial positions than comparable heterosexual workers; this effect was more pronounced for people of color. Nearly two-thirds of LGBTQ employees reported hearing jokes about LGBTQ people in the workplace, and a hostile work environment can force LGBTQ employees to quit otherwise good jobs. Hostile workplaces exist in all industries and can threaten workers’ personal safety.

The truth is:

  • 15% to 43% of gay and transgender workers have experienced some form of discrimination on the job.
  • 8% to 17 %of gay and transgender workers report being passed over for a job or fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • 10% to 28% received a negative performance evaluation or were passed over for a promotion because they were gay or transgender.
  • 7% to 41% of gay and transgender workers were verbally or physically abused or had their workplace vandalized.
  • LGBTQ people can even be fired simply because of who they are. It should come as no surprise that more than one-third of LGBTQ people reported hiding a personal relationship to avoid experiencing discrimination.

Gay/Lesbian and transgender individuals continue to face widespread discrimination in the workplace. Studies show that anywhere from 15% to 43% of gay people have experienced some form of discrimination and harassment at the workplace. Moreover, 90 % of transgender workers report some form of harassment or mistreatment on the job. These workplace abuses pose a real and immediate threat to the economic security of gay and transgender workers.

Many states, especially southern states, do not protect LGBT workers from discrimination and there are currently NO explicit federal protection for LGBT people in the workplace. LGBTQ people shouldn’t have to be concerned about discrimination because of who they are or who they love. Establishing Federal and state level LGBT protections is a pathway towards equality. Establishing grassroots campaigns that are led by workers and prioritize workers’ rights can accelerate policy change. Marginalized experiences of transgender workers and workers of color must be prioritized if our goal is to completely eradicate discrimination against all LGBT people in the workplace and beyond.

Census concludes, most women, particularly women of color, still receive grossly unequal pay compared to men. For every $1 a man makes, women make 80 cents, African American women make 63 cents, Native American women make 58 cents, and Latinas make only 54 cents for every $1 a man makes. 

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