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

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Publication Date: November 2008

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

Topic: Social conditions (Discrimination and affirmative action)

Keywords: gender identity; employment discrimination; sexual orientation

Coverage: United States


To more accurately measure the effect of anti-discrimination laws, this report compares sex, race, and sexual orientation complaint rates through a population-adjusted model. 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. An aggregation of all available state level data reveals that sexual orientation discrimination laws are used at similar frequencies by Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual (LGB) workers as sex discrimination laws by female workers, both at 5 complaints per every 10,000 workers. Race complaints are filed at the higher rate of 7 per 10,000 workers.


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