The “broken bargain” for LGBT workers


A landmark report profiling the workplace environment for LGBT workers has outlined specific factors which cause discrimination. Launched on Tuesday by the Center for American Progress in Washington DC, the “Broken Bargain” report finds ten key employment barriers.

The report presents a portrait of the LGBT workforce in terms of geography, ethnicity, education levels, unemployment rates and risk of poverty. The results show that LGBT workers are more likely than the average American to be at risk of poverty, unemployed or have a lower education level.

“A Broken Bargain” sets out the barriers for LGBT workers as relating to either discrimination or a lack of benefits that are otherwise afforded to the general workforce. Regarding discrimination, the report found that a bias in recruitment, on-the-job unfairness, wage gaps and a lack of legal protections were the main factors in why it was difficult to find and keep a good job.

The benefits not being received by LGBT workers and their families include those relating to health insurance, medical leave, spousal retirement benefits and family protections in the case of death or disability. They also have a higher tax burden and face the issue of being unable to sponsor a partner for immigration purposes.

Out & Equal’s Chief Development Officer, Kevin Jones, said that enacting several forms of federal legislation was needed to right these wrongs.

“There’s a need to rectify the full spectrum of benefits not available to LGBT workers. This involves passing a full federal non-discrimination act, the equalization of tax benefits and repealing DOMA; all pieces of federal legislation which impact LGBT employees,” Jones told 429Magazine.

“ENDA lays the foundation for allowing employers to end discrimination relating to sexual or gender identity. However LGBT couples have their hands tied by DOMA regarding the relationship recognition piece.”

“A Broken Bargain” concludes that laws should be instituted to end discrimination on matters of tax, inheritance, medical care and immigration, among others. It also suggests that LGBT wage discrimination protections are developed and that workplace diversity initiatives are fostered.

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