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.
This page offers resources about the legal landscape for employment protections, the impact of discrimination on LGBT workers, and more, including the “Broken Bargain” report series released in partnership with LGBT and progressive organizations.
October 2018 - A new brief examines the existing federal, state and local laws and court rulings that offer protections to LGBT workers as well as the gaps that leave workers vulnerable to discrimination because case law or legislation isn’t clear or explicit. This brief also examines the legal gaps that leave workers vulnerable to discrimination because laws don’t explicitly include the terms “sexual orientation” or “gender identity,” and courts have not interpreted sex discrimination provisions correctly.
August 2018 - This new brief details the history, demographics and experiences of LGBT people in the workplace. In addition to outlining the barriers facing LGBT workers because of prejudice, the brief also examines the added challenges facing workers—lower wages, lack of comprehensive immigration reform, barriers to employment for individuals with a criminal record, a changing economic landscape—and how these challenges also impact LGBT employees.
May 2018 - The Power of State Preemption: Preventing Progress and Threatening Equality exposes the coordinated effort to limit municipalities from passing local laws, the special interests motivating these efforts, and the negative impact specifically on LGBT people. The report concludes that when preemption is used in this way to undermine people’s economic security, health, and safety, it jeopardizes local democracy and equality for all.
Updated March 2018 - Several courts are considering cases brought by LGBT employees who have been discriminated against at work because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. This two page infographic offers an explanation of why Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is so important for LGBT employees and reviews the legal landscape.
August 2016 - Employment non-discrimination laws protect LGBT people from being unfairly fired, not hired, or discriminated against in the workplace by private employers.
January 2016 - LGBT Policy Spotlight: Nondiscrimination Protections for LGBT People examines federal, state, and local laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination, the perfect tool to educate everyone from elected officials to classmates to family and friends about the important need for basic protections.
October 2015 - LGBT Policy Spotlight: Local Employment Nondiscrimination Ordinances examines city and county nondiscrimination ordinances (NDOs) that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in private employment. The report details where these ordinances are geographically, their growth over time, and the gaps in coverage that remain.
July 2015 - This new infographic, “Snapshot: Transgender in America,” gives a quick look at state-level laws and policies that impact the lives of transgender people and provides some key statistics on the challenges transgender people face.
June 2014 - 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.
May 2014 - 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.
November 2013 - 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.
November 2013 - 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.
September 2013 - 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.
June 2013 - 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.
June 2013 - 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
April 2013 - 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.