Evidence of Employment Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity: Complaints Filed with State Enforcement Agencies 1999-2007

Publication Date: November 2008


Author(s): Christopher Ramos; M.V. Lee Badgett; Brad Sears

Research Area: Labor; Social conditions

Keywords: employment discrimination; sexual orientation

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


Today, twenty states and the District of Columbia prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. Of those, thirteen also prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity. As a result, an estimated 3.1 million lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) adults live in states that do not provide this protection from discrimination in the workplace. First, we place sexual orientation employment discrimination complaints in relation to the total number of LGB people in the workforce in order to get a more accurate measure of the complaint-filing rate of LGB people, or a population-adjusted complaint rate. Second, we calculate population-adjusted complaint rates for sex and race. Finally, we compare the complaint rate of LGB people to that of women alleging sex discrimination and people of color alleging race discrimination. The population-adjusted method allows for valid cross-category comparison. Due to the scarcity of available data, we are unable to do a similar analysis for gender identity discrimination complaints.