United States Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota released a new report outlining the economic consequences of LGBT discrimination in the workplace on Tuesday, November 5, calling for swift passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
The report shows that workplace discrimination in the US costs businesses $64 billion in turnover costs, which could be lessened by better protections for minorities so that they experience less hostile environments at work.
The report cites a study released June 2013 by the Pew Research Institute, which found that one in five LGBT adults have experienced some form of discrimination in the workplace. The same study found that 27 percent of the population “would not be happy to have a homosexual manager at work,” and 25 percent believe it “should not be illegal” to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation while hiring.
Despite the progress made for LGBT equality in the US, there are still some in the population who feel that LGBT discrimination is their right—such as conservatives who cite religious beliefs as a reason to deny services to LGBT customers, or people who deny the existence of the transgender experience.
The report also draws on the research of the Williams Institute, which in a report released April 2013, found that a majority of the top fifty Fortune 500 companies report that pro-diversity policies that foster healthy workplaces increased their profitability.
Despite some conservative politicians citing financial burdens that would levied onto small business because of ENDA, a poll by the Williams Institute found that over 63 percent of small business favored greater legal protections for LGBT workers.
The report focuses on long-term effects of hostile environments on the workers and on the productivity of that workplace. In spaces where workers feel oppressed or discriminated against, they are less productive, leading to lower profits and higher employee turnover.
Business executive Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, voiced a similar sentiment in his op-ed in favor of ENDA, titled “Why Workplace Equality is Good for Business,” earlier this week.
“At Apple, we try to make sure people understand that they don’t have to check their identity at the door,” wrote Cook in his opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. “When people feel valued for who they are, they have the comfort and confidence to do the best work of their lives.”
Senator Klobuchar, who sits on the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee as Vice Chair, expressed a similar sentiment in a press release regarding the report on LGBT discrimination.
“Discriminating against LGBT workers is not only morally wrong, it’s also bad for business and hurts our economy,” Klobuchar said. “Our country was built on equal rights and the idea that every person deserves the same fair shot at a good job, and passing ENDA would ensure that every LGBT American has an equal opportunity to support themselves and their families.”