Workplace Discrimination Series: Workplace Discrimination Series: Sam Hall
Discrimination has no place in our society, and the workplace is no exception.
For lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, workers, it is harder to find and keep a good job; this is rooted in discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Since there are no federal workplace protections for LGBT workers, many experience countless hardships and barriers.
In the United States it is assumed if an individual works diligently he or she will be assessed on employment qualifications—not on factors unrelated to job performance. LGBT workers, however, often experience the opposite. As with other workers, LGBT workers deserve a job with a safe and supportive environment where a person’s abilities to succeed will be evaluated rather than a person’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Currently, 9 out of 10 Americans incorrectly believe that LGBT workers are already protected under state and federal law despite Congress first denying LGBT workplace protections in 1974 and continuing to do so now. Momentum seems to be shifting, however, toward workplace protections for LGBT workers; bipartisan support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, was evident during markup of the bill on July 10 by the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
Now, more than ever, this increase in momentum must continue.
LGBT workers continue to experience a hostile work environment even when they are employed
The moment an LGBT worker receives an offer of employment, he or she anticipates whether colleagues will be welcoming or not. Yet many encounter anti-gay slurs, jokes, and verbal and/or physical harassment. Moreover, it is not uncommon for LGBT workers to be denied promotions or even risk being fired simply for being LGBT.
Check back each Tuesday to hear more stories from LGBT workers about their experiences with workplace discrimination. Contact us at email@example.com to share your own story.
According to a new comprehensive report that examines the myriad hardships facing LGBT workers:
- Fifty-eight percent of LGBT employees have heard jokes or derogatory comments about LGBT people at work. The workers who heard such comments also reported being more depressed and distracted because of their colleagues’ remarks.
- In a meta-analysis of more than 50 studies, between 7 percent and 41 percent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual workers report being verbally and physically harassed at their workplace.
- The National Transgender Discrimination Study reported that approximately 78 percent of transgender and gender-nonconforming employees experience harassment on the job.
This problem is exacerbated for LGBT employees of color who often experience “double discrimination.” This problem illustrates the critical need for legislation such as ENDA to work in conjunction with existing federal race-based employment protections.
In the second part of our “Workplace Discrimination Series,” listen carefully as a gay worker recounts the discrimination he faced at work and the action he took as a result.
The story of Sam Hall
Sam Hall worked for a mining company in West Virginia for seven years. Although Sam only wanted to provide the best possible life for his family, he ended up spending most days crying on his way to and from work. Management told Sam he had no rights that protected him from verbal and physical harassment. This is Sam’s story about how workplace discrimination changed his life.
Workplace discrimination is a real problem that hurts real people. Congress should take the necessary steps to ensure that LGBT workers have comprehensive protections from discrimination by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. LGBT workers must have a chance to exhibit their qualifications in order to build a successful life for themselves and their families.
Preston Mitchum is a Policy Analyst with the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress.
To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:
Print: Katie Peters (economy, education, poverty, Half in Ten Education Fund)
202.741.6285 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Anne Shoup (foreign policy and national security, energy, LGBT issues, health care, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7146 or email@example.com
Print: Crystal Patterson (immigration)
202.478.6350 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Madeline Meth (women's issues, Legal Progress, higher education)
202.741.6277 or email@example.com
Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi
202.741.6258 or firstname.lastname@example.org
TV: Lindsay Hamilton
202.483.2675 or email@example.com
Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or firstname.lastname@example.org