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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Senate Testimony on ENDA Provides Clear Evidence of Employment Discrimination

In official testimony delivered today before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), Williams Institute Research Director M.V. Lee Badgett shared research of sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in the workplace and the likely positive impact of the federal protections offered by a law like S. 811, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2011 (ENDA).  As currently drafted, ENDA would prohibit a wide range of employers (non-religious) with at least 15 employees from discriminating based on sexual orientation and gender identity in hiring and other employment decisions.

Decades of social science research have demonstrated that employment discrimination against LGBT employees occurs across the country and evidence suggests that a federal prohibition on such conduct would reduce discrimination” said M.V. Lee Badgett.

During her testimony, Badgett referenced the decades of economic and social science research demonstrating that employment discrimination against LGBT Americans occurs in workplaces all across the country and that this discrimination harms LGBT workers.  Such discrimination cuts across employment sectors, including both private sector employment and public employment in state and local governments.  For example:

• According to the 2008 General Social Survey, 42% of a national random sample of LGBT people had experienced, at some point in their lives, at least one form of employment discrimination because of their sexual orientation.

• In the largest survey of transgender people to date, 78% of respondents reported experiencing at least one form of harassment or mistreatment in the workplace because of their gender identity, with 47% reporting discrimination with regards to hiring, promotion, or job retention.

• Gay and bisexual men earn from 10% to 32% less than similarly qualified heterosexual men.

Absent further federal protections, the current patchwork of local, state, and federal protections offered for LGBT workers and LGBT-inclusive corporate policies still leave millions of LGBT workers at risk of employment discrimination, as noted in a recent Williams Institute study on the legislative impact of federal legislation prohibiting LGBT workplace discrimination.  Click here to view this study published in the Loyola Law Review.

Williams Institute Faculty Advisory Committee Member Kylar W. Broadus, Associate Professor of Business at Lincoln University, also testified at the hearing.

Click here for the full testimony.

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