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LGBT Workers

NOTE: To download the new report A Broken Bargain: Discrimination, Fewer Benefits and More Taxes for LGBT Workers, scroll below or click on the link in the title above. Click here for the news release.

U.S. workers who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) number an estimated 5.4 million. Yet LGBT workers continue to face inequality, unfairness, harassment and discrimination in the workplace, and they often have nowhere to turn for help.

LGBT employees who work just as hard as their non-LGBT counterparts face multiple barriers to fair and equal treatment—barriers that make it harder for LGBT workers to find and keep good jobs; and barriers that prevent LGBT workers from accessing the same job-related benefits as their non-LGBT coworkers, putting LGBT workers and their families at risk.

No federal law provides explicit legal protections for LGBT workers, and fewer than half of states have laws that protect workers based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. But most Americans are not aware of the lack of protections for LGBT workers. In fact, an overwhelming majority of Americans (87%) mistakenly believe that it is already illegal under federal law to fire someone simply for being gay.

Additionally, when an LGBT worker does the same job as a non-LGBT coworker, a series of federal and state laws deny the LGBT worker equal access to worker and family benefits—as well as family tax relief. This can create an untenable situation for LGBT workers and their families--as well as for employers. Even when a company’s leaders believe that fair and equal treatment in the workplace is fundamental to their values and business success, the law often forces employers to treat LGBT workers differently.

These and other injustices negatively impact both workers and employers. Action is needed by federal, state and local governments (as well as by employers) to reduce and eliminate inequities for LGBT workers and their families—solutions that would benefit the entire American workforce.


A Broken Bargain:

LGBT workers might have the same job as a coworker, yet be legally fired, denied equal benefits and be required to pay thousands of dollars more in taxes simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Learn more in the 132-page Full Report, the 36-page Condensed Version, and the five-page Executive Summary Read the Reports

A Broken Bargain: Unchecked Discrimination Against LGBT Workers

NEW! LGBT Americans continue to face unfair treatment, harassment and discrimination in the workplace, yet no federal law provides them with explicit legal protections. Learn how businesses and policymakers can help level the playing field and protect LGBT workers from employment discrimination. Read the Issue Brief

A Broken Bargain for Transgender Workers

The basic American bargain--that those who work hard and meet their responsibilities should be able to get ahead--is broken for transgender workers. Learn about the inequities facing transgender workers, and how policymakers and employers can help reduce and eliminate those inequities. Read the Report

A Broken Bargain for LGBT Workers of Color

LGBT workers of color face unique challenges, including educational barriers; hiring bias and on-the-job discrimination; unequal pay, benefits, and taxation--and extraordinarily high rates of unemployment and poverty as a result. Learn about actions that can help fix this broken bargain for LGBT workers of color. Read the Report

Issue Briefs: Protecting LGBT Workers

New state-focused issue briefs provide overviews of the unfair treatment faced by hardworking LGBT Americans who continue to lack essential protections against discrimination—and as a result, can still be unfairly fired from their jobs simply because of who they are. Read the Issue Briefs

An Impossible Choice: LGBT Workers & Family Leave Laws

Learn how discriminatory laws and unequal access to family and medical leave laws force lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers to choose between managing medical or family crises and holding onto their jobs and their livelihoods. Read the Issue Brief

Issue Brief: The Need for an Executive Order

U.S. taxpayers send almost $300 billion per year in federal contract dollars to businesses in states that have not yet passed laws to protect LGBT workers from discrimination. An executive order would protect an additional 16 million workers and cover more than 20% of the U.S. workforce. Read the Issue Brief.

A Broken Bargain: Infographics

From the pages of A Broken Bargain come a set of infographics, including: 'The Broken Bargain for LGBT Workers,' 'Legal Discrimination Makes It Harder to Find and Keep a Good Job,' 'Transgender Workers Work As Hard, Denied Health Care and Leave,' and more. View and Download the Infographics