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Gay and Transgender People Face High Rates of Workplace Discrimination and Harassment

Gay and Transgender People Face High Rates of Workplace Discrimination and Harassment

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Crosby Burns and Jeff Krehely discuss the high rates of workplace discrimination against gay and transgender people, and why lawmakers should swiftly enact the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
Crosby Burns and Jeff Krehely discuss the high rates of workplace discrimination against gay and transgender people, and why lawmakers should swiftly enact the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: Center for American Progress on Jun 02, 2011
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1Center for American Progress | Gay and Transgender People Face Workplace Discrimination and Harassment
Gay and Transgender People Face High Ratesof Workplace Discrimination and Harassment
Data Demonstrate Need for Federal Law
Crosby Burns and Jeff Krehely May 2011
Gay and ransgender individuals coninue o ace widespread discriminaion in he workplace.* Sudies show ha anywhere rom 15 percen o 43 percen o gay peoplehave experienced some orm o discriminaion and harassmen a he workplace.Moreover, a saggering 90 percen o ransgender workers repor some orm o harass-men or misreamen on he job. Tese workplace abuses pose a real and immediaehrea o he economic securiy o gay and ransgender workers.Congress should work quickly o pass he Employmen Non-Discriminaion Ac, orENDA, o ensure ha all Americans are judged in he workplace based on heir skills,qualicaions, and he qualiy o heir work. Righ now, oo many o our counrys gay and ransgender workers are being judged on heir sexual orienaion and gender iden-iy—acors ha have no impac on how well a person perorms heir job.
 The numbers
Te Williams Insiue on Sexual Orienaion Law and Public Policy aggregaeda num- ber o surveys o deermine he exen o which gay and ransgender workers experiencediscriminaion and harassmen in he workplace. Teir ndings illusrae ha discrimi-naion and harassmen are pervasive:
•
Fifteen percent to 43 percent of gay and transgender workers have experiencedsome form of discrimination on the job.
•
Eigh percen o 17 percen o gay and ransgender workers repor being passed overor a job or red because o heir sexual orienaion or gender ideniy.
•
en percen o 28 percen received a negaive perormance evaluaion or were passedover or a promoion because hey were gay or ransgender.
•
Seven percen o 41 percen o gay and ransgender workers were verbally orphysically abused or had heir workplace vandalized.
* In this column, the term gay is used as an umbrella term for people who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual.
 
2Center for American Progress | Gay and Transgender People Face Workplace Discrimination and Harassment
Sraigh coworkers also ates o he presence o discriminaion and harassmen againsLGB workers. Te Williams Insiue’s repor ound ha 12 percen o 30 percen o sraigh workers winessed discriminaion in he workorce based on sexual orienaion.Conrolled experimens have ound consisen evidence o workplace discriminaion as well. When researchers send wo ses o mached resumes o major employers, and oneindicaes he applican is gay, employers warmly receive “gay” resumes ar less oen han“sraigh” resumes. Seven ou o eigh o hese sudies conrmed he exisence o anigay employmen discriminaion.ransgender individuals encouner workplace discriminaion and harassmen a evenhigher raes han gays and lesbians. Earlier his year, he Naional Cener or ransgenderEqualiy and he Naional Gay and Lesbian ask Forcereleaseda comprehensive sudy on ransgender discriminaion ha revealed near universal problems a he workplace:
•
Ninety percent of transgender individuals have encountered some form of harass-ment or mistreatment on the job.
•
Fory-seven percen o workers have experienced an adverse job oucome becausehey are ransgender. Tis includes: Fory-our percen who were passed over or a job weny-hree percen who were denied a promoion And 26 percen who were red because hey were ransgender
 The stories behind the numbers
Behind hese saisics are he hearbreaking sories o everyday Americans losing heir jobs based on characerisics ha have nohing o do wih heir job perormance. Vandy Beh Glennlos her jobwih he Georgia General Assembly when her boss redher because she was ransgender:
[My boss] told me I would make other people uncomortable, just by being mysel. Hetold me that my transition was unacceptable. And over and over, he told me it wasinappropriate. Ten he red me. I was escorted back to my desk, told to clean it out,then marched out o the building…I was devastated.
Brook Wais was gainully employed in Dallas, exas unil her managerred her immediaely aer she saw a picure on Brook’s cell phone o Brook and her girlriendkissing on New Year’s Eve:
 I didn’t lose my job because I was lazy, incompetent, or unproessional. Quite the con-trary, I worked hard and did my job very well. However that was all discarded whenmy boss discovered I am a lesbian. In a single aernoon, I went om being a highly praised employee, to out o a job.
 
3Center for American Progress | Gay and Transgender People Face Workplace Discrimination and Harassment
 And ocer Michael Carney  was denied reinsaemenas a police ocer in Springeld,Massachusets because he old his supervisors ha he was gay:
 I’m a good cop. But I’ve lost two and a hal years o employment ghting to get that jobback because I’m gay…I’m proud to be Irish-American. I’m proud to be gay, and I’m proud to be a cop in Springeld, MA.
 The economic consequences of discrimination
Gay and ransgender individuals sufer rom socioeconomic inequaliies in large pardue o pervasive discriminaion in he workplace. Discriminaion direcly causes jobinsabiliy and high urnover, resuling in greaer unemploymen and povery raes orgay and ransgender people, as well as he wage gap beween gay and sraigh workers.Consider ha gay menearn10 percen o 32 percen less han similarly qualied he-erosexual males. Older gay and lesbian adulsexperiencehigher povery raes han heirheerosexual counerpars. And ransgender individualsarewice as likely o be unem-ployed and are our imes as likely o live in povery. Nearly 20 percen have been or arecurrenly homeless.Companies should care abou hese numbers i hey are in he business o boosingpros.ime and again , researchers have demonsraed ha discriminaiondiminishes  produciviy, job saisacion, and he menal and physical healh o all employees.
Enacting legislation that provides real protection
Gay and ransgender individuals’ legal and social sanding is improving despie heirunair and unequal reamen in he workplace. An increasing number o saes, munici-paliies, and businesses have adoped nondiscriminaion proecions ha prohibidiscriminaion based on sexual orienaion and gender ideniy.Te public, oo, has increasingly  voiced supporor employmen proecions and work- place airness or gay and ransgender workers. And more and more gay workers arecoming ou a he workplace, a sign ha workplace climaes have become more accep-ing or a leas oleran overall.Neverheless, gay and ransgender people coninue o lack ull workplace proecionsaforded o women, people o color, veerans, seniors, and he disabled. Under ederallaw i is sill legal o re someone or being gay or ransgender.
 
 Where sae or local lawsexis, gay and ransgender workers le discriminaion complains a comparable raesand in some case higher raes han oher proeced classes such as gender and race. BuCongress has hus ar ailed o incorporae gay and ransgender workers ino employ-men laws ha shield hese and oher groups rom workplace discriminaion naionwide.

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