LGBT Employees: Economic Hardships Aplenty

Earlier this month, the Movement Advancement Project, Human Rights Campaign, and Center for American Progress released “A Broken Bargain: Discrimination, Fewer Benefits and More Taxes for LGBT Workers,” a thorough examination of the unique economic hardships faced by many LGBT workers in the United States. According to the authors, inadequate legal protections and exclusionary family policies weaken job security and lead to lower compensation for LGBT workers, especially transgender workers.

Complete with heartbreaking personal testimonies, the report provides ample statistical evidence to show systemic employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Federal protection against these forms of employment discrimination — stemming from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act — is limited in scope, while state-level nondiscrimination laws vary greatly from state to state.

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This leaves an estimated 4.3 million LGBT people vulnerable. As the authors report, only 16 states and the District of Columbia prohibit employment discrimination based on gender expression and gender identity, while 21 states and the District of Columbia protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Twenty-nine states offer no protections whatsoever. The following map illustrates this inconsistency:

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An interactive version of the map, available on the Movement Advancement Project website, allows users to view sub-state non-discrimination policies as well.