Effects of Workplace Discrimination and Nondiscrimination Policies

Following the landmark Supreme Court decisions in 2013 and 2015 which brought marriage equality to all 50 states, there has been renewed focus on employment non-discrimination policies at the state and federal level. This has accompanied a backlash from anti-LGBTQ activists who have channeled their efforts into so-called Religious Freedom bills. The spate of recent anti-LGBTQ laws passed in places like Indiana, North Carolina, and Mississippi, have emphasized the growing role these issues will play in the movement going forward. As legislatures debate adding (or even repealing) nondiscrimination policies, there is a need for more empirical explorations of the workforce experiences of LGBTQ workers and the effectiveness of nondiscrimination laws. Anecdotal evidence abounds about the prevalence of workplace discrimination and LGBTQ survey respondents consistently report experiencing discrimination. However, there is a growing need for quantitative data measuring the impact of these experiences and policy remedies. This presentation explores the history of LGBTQ nondiscrimination policies, provides analysis of existing and proposed policies, and discusses the limitations of our current understandings of these issues. I will explore the existing research and available data that have been used to explore this topic as well as present some preliminary findings from new research. As activism moves beyond the success of the marriage movement, it is increasingly important to highlight the growing research and policy needs in these areas.