26 June 2018


The US Human Rights Campaign Foundation has released an indicative report on the US 'LGBTQ Workplace Climate'. The report covers data from a small survey in February and March 2018.

Salient claims are -
Despite Legal Gains, LGBTQ Workers Remain Closeted on the Job 
● 46% of LGBTQ workers are closeted at work 
● 50% of non-LGBTQ workers reported that there are no employees at their company who are open about being LGBTQ 
● Top reasons for not being open at work about their sexual orientation and gender identity:
› Possibility of being stereotyped: 38% 
› Possibly making people feel uncomfortable: 36% 
› Possibility of losing connections or relationships with coworkers: 31% 
› People might think I will be attracted to them just because I am LGBTQ: 27%
Broad Social Acceptance for LGBTQ Community at All-Time High, But Subtle Biases Remain 
● 1 in 5 LGBTQ workers have been told or had coworkers imply that they should dress more feminine or masculine (compared to 1 in 24 non-LGBTQ workers) 
● Both populations share: 73% of LGBTQ workers and 78% of non-LGBTQ workers say that they are comfortable talking about their spouse, partner, or dating to coworkers, but:
› ¼ LGBTQ employers report that coworkers who they are out to seem uncomfortable once they say something related to their sexual orientation or gender identity (e.g. mentioning a partner, spouse, personal history, etc.) 
› 36% of non-LGBTQ workers say they would feel uncomfortable hearing an LGBTQ colleague talk about dating, and 
59% of non-LGBTQ workers think that it is unprofessional to talk about sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace
Sexual Orientation for LGBTQ People is Still Sexualized 
● 54% of non-LGBTQ workers said that they would be very comfortable working with an LGBTQ coworker; of those who wouldn’t be very comfortable, a majority said it was because they “didn’t want to hear about their coworker’s sex life” 
● 18% of LGBTQ workers reported that someone at work has made sexually inappropriate comments to them because their coworker thought their sexual orientation or gender identity made it okay 
● 53% of LGBTQ workers report hearing jokes about lesbian or gay people people (and 41% transgender-specific and 37% bisexual-specific jokes), while only 37% of their nonLGBTQ counterparts report hearing the same jokes 
Major Employers Losing Talent 
Engagement to Anti-LGBTQ Biases at Work 
Working in an unwelcoming environment that is not always accepting of LGBTQ people leads to:
● 25% of LGBTQ workers feeling distracted from work 
● 28% lying about their personal life 
● 17% felt exhausted from spending time and energy hiding their sexual orientation and 13% from gender identity 
● 20% of LGBTQ workers avoided a special event at work such as lunch, happy hour, or a holiday party 
● 25% of LGBTQ workers avoided certain people at work 
● 31% felt unhappy or depressed at work 
● 20% have stayed home from work because the workplace wasn’t always accepting of LGBTQ people 
● 20% searched for a different job 
LGBTQ Workers Lack Faith in Accountability Systems, Sometimes With Good Reason 
● The top reason LGBTQ workers don’t tell a supervisor or Human Resources about negative comments about LGBTQ people is because they don’t think anything would be done about it and because they don't want to hurt their relationships with coworkers 
● 1 in 10 employees have heard their own supervisor make negative comments about LGBTQ people – this statistic has remained the same since our first study in 2008 
● 45% of LGBTQ workers agree with the statement that enforcement of the non-discrimination policy is dependent on their supervisor’s own feelings towards LGBTQ people 
● 13% felt that they would be fired because their workplace was unwelcoming of LGBTQ people 
LGBTQ Climate Directly Affects Retention and Turnover 
● 1 in 4 LGBTQ workers have stayed in a job primarily because the environment was very accepting of LGBTQ people 
● 1 in 10 LGBTQ workers have left a job because the environment was not very accepting of LGBTQ people