2017 Workplace Equality Fact Sheet

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Workplace Discrimination at a Glance:

Federal and State Policy Landscape:

Why Businesses and Agencies Should Care:

  • Being out at work and welcomed by your boss and co-workers is good for employee morale and the bottom line:
    • Research shows that LGBT-supportive policies and workplace climates are linked to greater job commitment, improved workplace relationships, increased job satisfaction, and improved health outcomes among LGBT employees.
    • LGBT-supportive policies and workplace climates are also linked to less discrimination against LGBT employees and more openness about being LGBT. Less discrimination and more openness, in turn, are also linked to greater job commitment, improved workplace relationships, increased job satisfaction, improved health outcomes, and increased productivity among LGBT employees.
    • According to one study, LGBT people in the closet at work are 73 percent more likely to say they’ll leave their companies within the next three years.
  • Seventy-eight percent of transgender people felt more comfortable at work after transition, and believe their workplace performance improved.

Progress on Workplace LGBT Equality:

For lesbian, gay, and bisexual employees:

  • In 1996, only four percent of Fortune 500 companies included sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination policies.
  • Today, 92 percent of Fortune 500 companies welcome lesbian, gay, and bisexual employees with inclusive policies (that protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation).

For transgender employees:

  • In 2002, just three percent of Fortune 500 companies had nondiscrimination protections that included gender identity.
  • Today, 82 percent of Fortune 500 companies include gender identity in nondiscrimination policies.

Global Landscape:

  • Twenty-three countries have legalized same-sex marriage.
  • Sixty-one countries prohibit discrimination in employment because of sexual orientation.
  • Seventy-six countries in the world still criminalize same-sex sexual acts, and more countries criminalize ‘homosexuality’ in other ways, subjecting individuals to dangers, abuses, harassment, and violations on the basis of their gender and sexuality.