Fifty-one percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers do not reveal their sexual orientation to all their coworkers. Only 5 percent of LGBT workers ages 18–24 reveal their sexual orientation to all of their coworkers. These are just two of the statistics found in the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)'s new report, "Degrees of Equality: A National Study Examining Workplace Climate for LGBT Employees."
Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, states that the new study "helps us bridge the gap between policy and practice to fully understand LGBT workers' experiences."
The study also provides information on the reasons LGBT workers choose to disclose/not disclose their identity; different workplace scenarios where this issue arose and its impact on the business; and suggestions for improving engagement and retention. What are some of the key findings?
As a result of working in an environment not deemed to be LGBT-friendly:
- Twenty-seven percent of LGBT workers found it distracting
- Twenty-one percent have searched for a new job
- Thirteen percent have stayed home from work for this reason at least once in the last year
Why do LGBT workers not disclose their identity?
- Thirty-nine percent believe they will lose connections
- Twenty-eight percent believe they will lose promotion opportunities
- Seventeen percent believe they will be fired; this number increases to 42 percent for transgender workers
- Thirteen percent fear actual physical harm; this number increases to 40 percent for transgender workers
What scenarios are likely to arise to create an uncomfortable environment?
- Nearly half of LGBT workers feel "very" uncomfortable having conversations about their social lives, relationship status and the topic of sex, all of which occur frequently in the workplace and are found to be essential in "building productive work relationships"
- Fifty-eight percent of LGBT workers say someone in their workplace makes jokes or derogatory comments about LGBT people
- Sixty-two percent of LGBT workers say someone in their workplace makes jokes or derogatory comments about "minority" groups—which, HRC states, also creates a negative climate
Additionally, you may not be aware of non-inclusive behavior in your workplace because most LGBT workers do not report instances of anti-LGBT remarks.
- Sixty-seven percent completely ignore the remarks
- Nine percent raise the issue with a manager
- Five percent raise the issue with human resources
To view the full report, click here. For more from DiversityIncBestPractices.com on diversity training, click here, and for research on LGBT rights, here. Also, can you name The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for LGBT Employees? Find out which companies are on the list here.