Metro Weekly

Almost half of employed LGBTQ Americans believe being out at work will harm their career

LGBTQ employees worry about losing promotion opportunities or even their job if they come out

Photo: Alex Kotliarskyi on Unsplash

A new survey has found that almost half of LGBTQ employees in the United States believe that being out at work would hurt their career.

Workplace review website Glassdoor surveyed over 6,000 people, of which 515 identified as LGBTQ and are currently employed.

Of those LGBTQ respondents, 47% believed that declaring their sexuality or gender identity could lead to them not getting a promotion, not being selected for a project, or even losing their job.

However, almost three in five respondents said they feel they are fully “out” at work, versus 43% who said they don’t yet feel fully “out” to colleagues.

Jesus Suarez, Glassdoor’s LGBTQ and Ally Employee Group Leader, called the findings a “wake up call.”

“Still today, 26 states do not protect LGBTQ employees at work and many of these employees believe coming out could hurt their career,” Suarez said in a statement. “This is a wake up call to employers and lawmakers. Many employers have an opportunity to build or strengthen the foundation for an inclusive culture that encourages employees to bring their full selves to work.”

Glassdoor also asked respondents about workplace discrimination. More than half (53%) of LGBTQ respondents siad they had either experienced or witnessed anti-LGBTQ comments by co-workers.

Most LGBTQ people (70%) would also not apply to work at a company that doesn’t support its LGBTQ employees.

Among all respondents, both LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ, 46% of employed Americans wouldn’t apply to work at a company that doesn’t support LGBTQ employees.

However, LGBTQ employees are more likely (68%) to believe that their company can do more to support LGBTQ and ally employees than non-LGBTQ people (48%).

Non-LGBTQ respondents were also less likely (30%) to have experienced or witnessed anti-LGBTQ comments by co-workers.

Suarez said it was “disheartening to see that a majority of LGBTQ employees have faced or witnessed some form of verbal discrimination at work,” adding that employers who “ignore implementing supportive working environments and policies risk missing out on hiring quality talent.”

“We’re seeing a strong majority of LGBTQ employees wanting more support from their employers, and there are many ways to offer support that go beyond benefits and policies,” said Suarez. “Doing company research is a great way to evaluate if you’ll find support in a potential employer. It’s important to find a job and a company you love, including a company that encourages you to be your authentic self at work.”


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