Chicago — Almost half of LGBTQ+ people in the U.S. have experienced workplace discrimination at some point in their lives, according to a recent study.
Of the 935 LGBTQ+ adults surveyed by The Williams Institute, 48.8% said they have been fired or not hired due to their identity, according to Them.us. Over 22% said they have been sexually harrassed within the past five years, compared to 12% of queer, cisgender people.
Nearly 9% of LGBTQ+ workers said they had been fired or denied employment in the past year due to their identity. The number was higher for workers of color, over 11% of whom reported having faced unfair employment or hiring practices.
The report is one of the first to reflect the prevalence of LGBTQ+ job discrimination both during the COVID-19 pandemic and since the Supreme Court’s June 2020 decision Bostock v. Clayton County, according to Them. The ruling makes it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity under federal civil rights laws.
Researchers thought the combination of the decision and the pressures from the pandemic would have led to increased camaraderie in the workplace, Brad Sears, executive director of The Williams Institute, told NBC News.
“We thought a lot of companies and workers would be coming together in a new way,” he said.
He said the findings underscore the need to pass the Equality Act, which would create federal protections for the LGBTQ+ community in housing, education, health care and which would also create stronger employment protections.
“Bostock was a general pronouncement against discrimination,” Sears said. “The Equality Act gets into the details of the statutes and will provide clear guidance that these behaviors are against the law.”
The legislation passed the House in February and advanced to the Senate, where it stalled due to a lack of GOP support.