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Study: Majority of LGBT workers nationwide are closeted on the job

Study: Majority of LGBT workers nationwide are closeted on the job

WASHINGTON – A majority of LGBT workers nationwide are closeted on the job, according to a study released Wednesday by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the HRC.


The report, “The Cost of the Closet and the Rewards of Inclusion,” surveyed over 800 LGBT workers across the country and included an added survey of non-LGBT workers. The report at a glance:

  • 53 percent of LGBT employees hide who they are at work;
  • More than 80 percent of non-LGBT workers report that conversations about social lives, relationships and dating come up weekly and often daily and 81 percent feel that LGBT people “should not have to hide who they are at work,” however less than half would feel comfortable hearing an LGBT coworker talk about dating;
  • One in four LGBT employees report hearing negative comments such as “that’s so gay” while at work;
  • One-fifth of LGBT workers report looking for a job specifically because the environment wasn’t accepting of LGBT identities, and close to one in ten (9 percent) successfully left a job for the same reasons they were not comfortable;
  • Twenty-six percent have stayed in a job because the environment was accepting.

The findings come as more Fortune 500 companies than ever before have implemented inclusive workplace non-discrimination policies — 91 percent provide explicit protections on the basis of sexual orientation and 61 percent on the basis of gender identity, a historic high. Sixty-seven percent offer same-sex partner benefits, another record.

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But despite significant strides among the Fortune 500 and other major businesses implementing inclusive employment policies and practices, consistent legal protections are not afforded to LGBT people state to state, reports the HTC.

Currently, there are no state laws prohibiting workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in 29 states and gender identity in 33 states.

The study is here.

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