Advantages of Having Anti-Discrimination Laws in the Workplace

It might come as no surprise that anti-discrimination laws have a positive effect on not only the LGBTQ population, but everyone else in the workplace as well.  Even though those who identify as LGBTQ are a relatively low number compared to the population at large, the benefits of providing a safe, secure work environment has far-reaching advantages.  

According to the  UCLA’s Williams Institute, just 3.8% of the total U.S. population self-identifies as gay or lesbian. Perhaps not surprisingly, the highest number of people identifying as LGBTQ are Millennials (7.3% in 2016, as opposed to 3.2 Gen X’ers and 2.5 Baby Boomers).  However, despite the rising number of people identifying as gay, lesbian, or transgender, national data analyses shows consistently that men in same sex relationships AND gay men earn 10-32% less than similarly qualified cisgendered men with different sex partners (e.g. heterosexual men).

Conversely, women who identify as lesbian actually make MORE than their straight counterparts, up to 20% more in the United States.  Possible explanations for the wage gap include theories that lesbians are inherently more competitive, are perhaps more educated than straight women, and are less likely to have children, although none of these reasons have fully explained the disparity and some of these explanations may be related to unfortunate stereotypes. Despite this anomaly, however, the fact remains that in many states around the nation, there are no or, at best, very few laws in place that protect the inherent rights of members of the LGBTQ population in the workplace.  

As of January 28, 2016, at least 225 cities and counties prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity in employment ordinances that governed all public and private employers in those jurisdictions.  Research shows that not only may having such policies in place increases earnings for members of the LGBTQ population by decreasing the risk of discrimination in hiring and firing practices, as well as chances for promotions or pay increases,  but this protection also leads to an overall positive work space.  When you are no longer concerned about being fired or passed over for a promotion solely because of your sexual orientation, it allows you to focus on your job.  This, in turn brings about positive business outcomes, including greater job commitment, improved work relationships, increased job satisfaction, and improved health incomes among LGBT employees.

And that can only be beneficial to you, your colleagues, and everyone else with whom you come in contact in the workplace.




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