As Anne-Valérie Hueschen—Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Voxbone—recently discussed, having a diverse workforce creates smarter teams. Hueschen says, “Diverse workforces reflect more of the world as a whole, which encourages multiple solutions to problems and fosters new ideas.”
As more workforces continue to recruit diverse employees, there is one “protected class” of workers that may be getting overlooked: the LGBTQ community. New research has revealed which industries are both the friendliest and the unfriendliest to LGBTQ employees.
Before we dive into the research, it should be noted that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination based on race, color, sex, or religion. Title VII does not expressly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals have successfully asserted claims of discrimination under Title VII based on an employer’s gender stereotyping of characteristics or traits associated with a particular gender.
Furthermore, The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has ruled that employment discrimination based on an individual’s gender identity, change of sex, and/or transgender status is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII (Macy v. Holder, Appeal No. 0120120821 (EEOC 4/20/12)). Under Title VII, it is unlawful for an employer to base employment decisions on stereotypes or assumptions about the abilities, traits, or performance of individuals of a certain sex.
Again, while there is no federal law, 21 states do protect against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
The research was conducted by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC) and the personal finance blog OverdraftApp.com. HRC’s 2018 Corporate Equality Index rated 947 companies in the U.S., based on their commitment to LGBTQ equality in the workplace. They score each company on a range of criteria, such as nondiscrimination policies, equal benefits, and accountability.
Top U.S. Industries with LGBTQ Friendly Companies
Companies within the banking and finance, law, and insurance sectors have topped the list, with 15% of all LGBTQ friendly companies falling within these three industries.
In direct comparison, industries such as marketing, education, and fashion were towards the bottom of the list, with just 1% of LGBTQ friendly companies falling within these three industries.
“These improvements will not only have a profound impact on the working conditions for our LGBTQ community, but it will have a positive effect on their finances, too,” says Uri Abramson, Cofounder at OverdraftApps.com. “From closing pay gaps … to job security and promotions, professional industries still have some work to do to improve diversity and inclusivity.”
Which U.S. State Is Home to the Most LGBTQ Friendly Companies?
Looking at the data in more detail, OverdraftApps.com has mapped the U.S. states which are home to the headquarters of the most LGBTQ friendly companies.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, New York is at the top of the list followed closely by California and Illinois. Companies in these three states make up 17% of the total list of LGBTQ friendly companies.
The states with the lowest number of LGBTQ friendly companies are Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana—making up just 0.3% of the total list.
The Impact of Employer Equality on LGBTQ Personal Finance
OverdraftApps.com study also found that a significant number of the LGBTQ community say that discrimination at work has had a significant effect on their finances, with 62% of those surveyed telling Experian their sexual orientation or gender identity was a reason for financial challenges.
Some of the main challenges they face are:
- Discrimination or harassment at work (13%)
- Not being considered for jobs (12%)
- Being given a lower salary compared to the general population and less inclined to be given a promotion (10%)
What’s Next for Employers Looking to Improve Inclusivity?
There are currently 100 U.S. businesses working together as a coalition to support the Equality Act, which would provide legislation to protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination under federal law.
“The results of the HRC survey shines a light on the many positive steps that have been taken by companies all over the US to revolutionize their inclusivity and diversity policies, says Ruben Aknin, Cofounder at OverdraftApps.com.
“Whilst some industries, states, and companies are making leaps and bounds towards inclusivity, it is clear that there are still some sectors who need to review and revise their policies for their LGBTQ workforce,” adds Abramson.
Equality is not only good for employees, but it’s also good for business too, so encouraging companies to support inclusivity and diversity legislation could go some way for employers to make a real difference.
“Corporations need to do their due diligence when trying to attract LGBT employees. Only advertising to the community isn’t going to do it,” says Justin Nelson, Cofounder and President of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. “Companies must ensure they are treating their LGBT employees fairly, as well as utilizing LGBT businesses in their diverse supply chains.”