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The Williams Institute

Documenting Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in State Employment bannerUCLA

Surveys of LGBT Public Employees and Their Co-Workers

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

This section summarizes a large body of survey data, with samples drawn from across the nation and covering a range of occupational classifications, that provides compelling evidence that discrimination against LGBT state government employees, as well as other public sector workers, is serious, pervasive and continuing. The more than 80 surveys summarized in this section also indicate that there is no reason to believe that the level of employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity by state employers and local employers is any different than the level of discrimination by private employers.

This section is divided into six parts. The first five sections provide data from 1) general surveys of LGBT people that include public employees; 2) surveys of LGBT education professionals; 3) surveys of judges and lawyers; 4) surveys of public safety officers; and 5) surveys of heterosexual employees asking if they have witnessed sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in the workplace. Despite the high levels of discrimination reported in these surveys, the final section summarizes research that indicates that employment discrimination against LGBT people is likely under-reported because many LGBT workers remain closeted in the workplace to avoid such discrimination, and many select into jobs and workplaces where they are less likely to encounter such discrimination.

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