The United States workforce includes an estimated 5.4 million lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (“LGBT”) persons. Because no federal statute explicitly prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, employers may discriminate against LGBT workers with impunity, and numerous studies have confirmed that LGBT-related employment discrimination is rampant. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (“LGB”) individuals experience sexual orientation-based employment discrimination at staggering rates: 8% to 17% have been fired or denied employment, 7% to 41% have been verbally or physically harassed by coworkers, and 10% to 19% have been unfairly compensated in terms of pay or benefits. Transgender persons experience gender identity-based employment discrimination at even greater rates: 47% have been fired or denied employment, 78% have been verbally or physically harassed by coworkers, and 7% have been physically assaulted at work. Federal action to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, therefore, is not only warranted, but urgently needed to redress widespread bias against LGBT individuals.
Redressing LGBT Employment Discrimination Via Executive Order,
Notre Dame J.L. Ethics & Pub. Pol'y
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