In today’s world, where diversity and inclusivity are at the forefront of discussions, it is essential to address the issue of discrimination against LGBTQ+ employees in the workplace. LGBTQ+ employees continue to be at risk of discrimination in the workplace. This is due to a lack of explicit legal protection in many states. There is also a lack of clear policies at the company level, leaving LGBTQ+ employees vulnerable to mistreatment and unequal treatment.
This article will discuss LGBTQ+ employees in the workplace and whether they are safe from discrimination.
Key Findings about LGBTQ+ Employees and Their Experiences
According to a 2021 study from UCLA Williams Institute, some key findings for LGBTQ+ People’s Experiences of Workplace Discrimination and Harassment included:
- Nearly one in four LGBT employees (29.8%) reported being fired or not hired due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- A third (33.2%) of LGBT employees of color and a quarter (26.3%) of white LGBT employees reported discrimination at work (being fired or not hired).
- The percentage of LGBT employees of color who were not hired due to their sexual orientation or gender identity was significantly higher than the percentage of white LGBT employees: 29.0% of LGBT employees of color reported not being hired because of their LGBT status, compared to 18.3% of white LGBT employees.
- Employees who were transgender were also much more likely to experience discrimination based on their LGBTQ+ identity than cisgender LGB employees: Nearly half (48.8%) of transgender employees reported discrimination (being fired or not hired) based on their LGBTQ+ status, compared to 27.8% of cisgender LGB employees. More specifically, over twice as many transgender employees reported not being hired (43.9%) because of their LGBT status compared to LGB employees (21.5%).
For more data, you can read the full report here.
More Statistics About LGBTQ+ People in the Workplace
According to the Human Rights Campaign, LGBTQ+ workers in the United States are more likely to be unemployed than the general population, with 16.7% of LGBTQ+ adults experiencing unemployment compared to 13.2% of the general population.
Additionally, LGBTQ+ adults are more likely to be underemployed, with 24.5% of LGBTQ+ adults being underemployed, compared to 18.3% of the general population. Furthermore, transgender workers are more likely to experience unemployment than cisgender workers, with 32.6% of transgender workers reporting unemployment compared to 16.4% of cisgender workers. Finally, LGBTQ+ workers are more likely to be in poverty than the general population, with 25.6% of LGBTQ+ individuals in poverty compared to 18.6% of the general population.
This is thought to be due to the discrimination and lack of acceptance that many LGBTQ+ individuals face in the workplace, which can lead to them being passed over for promotions or even fired. Additionally, many transgender individuals have difficulty finding employment because their gender expression does not match their legal or assigned gender, which can be a significant barrier in the job search process.
What Types of Discrimination Occur Against LGBTQ+ People in the Workplace?
Discrimination against LGBTQ+ employees can take many forms, including harassment, unequal pay, and being passed over for promotions. According to a report by the Human Rights Campaign, nearly half of LGBTQ+ employees remain closeted at work, with a fear of being discriminated against. This fear is not unfounded, as 1 in 3 LGBTQ+ employees report experiencing workplace discrimination in the past year.
This discrimination hurts employees but can also lead to decreased morale and productivity in the workplace. This discrimination can take many forms, such as being passed over for promotions, being treated differently by colleagues, or even being fired due to one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Furthermore, this discrimination can create a ripple effect and lead to a hostile work environment, making it difficult for LGBTQ+ employees to be their authentic selves at work.
How to Create a Safe Work Environment for LGBTQ+ Employees
Companies need to create a safe and inclusive work environment for all employees. This can be done through implementing policies and practices that promote diversity and inclusivity, training employees on LGBTQ+ issues, and offering support and resources to LGBTQ+ employees.
As a result, it will create a workplace culture where everybody feels respected and valued. It will also allow all employees to bring their whole, authentic selves to work, creating a more productive and collaborative environment. Additionally, it can attract and retain top talent and foster a more innovative and successful workplace.
Companies should also strive to create an environment where everyone is respected, and their differences are valued. They should ensure that all employees are treated fairly and equally, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or other personal characteristics. For instance, companies should employ an equal-pay policy so that all employees receive the same salary for performing the same job.
How to Promote Inclusivity in the Workplace
One way to promote inclusivity in the workplace is through gender-neutral language. This includes using gender-neutral pronouns and avoiding assumptions about an individual’s gender identity. Additionally, companies can offer gender-neutral restrooms and ensure all employees have access to them.
Another way to create a safe and inclusive work environment is by implementing an LGBTQ+ employee resource group. This group can provide support and resources to LGBTQ+ employees and help to promote a culture of inclusivity within the company.
It is also essential for companies to have a straightforward and effective reporting process for discrimination and harassment. This process includes having a designated person or team to handle complaints, providing options for anonymous reporting, and taking swift and appropriate action when incidents are reported.
Discrimination against LGBTQ+ employees in the workplace is still a prevalent issue. Companies need to take steps to create a safe and inclusive work environment for all employees. Some examples include implementing policies and practices that promote diversity and inclusivity, providing training and resources to employees, and having a straightforward and effective reporting process for discrimination and harassment.
By taking these steps, companies can help to ensure that all employees feel valued and respected, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
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