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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Administrative Complaints on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

  • Author(s): Sears, Brad
  • Mallory, Christy
  • Hunter, Nan D.
  • et al.

Employment discrimination complaints filed with state and local administrative agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) also document a widespread and persistent pattern of sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination against LGBT state and local employees.

This chapter proceeds in five parts. The first part reviews academic scholarship analyzing the number and scope of administrative complaints that have been filed based on allegations of sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination. The second part presents original research by the Williams Institute conducted during 2008 and 2009 updating these studies. The Williams Institute study is based on administrative complaints filed by state and local employees alleging sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination from 18 states (Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, George, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin). The third part provides additional research by the Williams Institute, which compares sexual orientation, race, and sex discrimination administrative complaints, and finds that the filing rates are comparable when the underlying populations are taken into account. The fourth part discusses additional academic research that indicates that the number of administrative complaints is almost certainly lower than the rate of actual employment discrimination experienced by LGBT people. The final part presents additional new research by the Williams Institute conducted during 2009 reporting the nature and number of complaints lodged with NGOs that provide legal representation to the LGBT community.

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