According to Crosby Burns, a Research Associate for the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, the annual estimated cost of losing and replacing American workers who leave their jobs due to unfairness and discrimination is a whopping $64 billion.
According to a recent survey, 42% of gay individuals say they have experienced some form of employment discrimination at some point in their lives. And an astonishing 90%of transgender individuals report experiencing some form of harassment, mistreatment, or discrimination on the job, or taking actions such as hiding who they are to avoid it. Of this 90%, 47% said they had experienced an adverse job outcome such as being fired, denied employment, or not receiving a deserved promotion because of their gender identity.
Unfortunately it remains perfectly legal in a majority of states to fire someone because they are gay or transgender. Only 21 states and the District of Columbia have outlawed employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and only 16 states and the District of Columbia have done so on the basis of gender identity.
Congress would have to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, to provide gay and transgender workers uniform and comprehensive employment protections nationwide.
Surprisingly, businesses that discriminate based on a host of job-irrelevant characteristics, including race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, and sexual orientation and gender identity put themselves at a competitive disadvantage as compared to those businesses which evaluate individuals based solely on their qualifications.
On the flip side, 85% of Fortune 500 companies have nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation, and 49% include gender identity. Higher up on the Fortune ladder, 96%t of Fortune 50 companies have nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation, and 74% include gender identity.
By actively implementing a host of workplace policies to protect against employment discrimination–most at zero or negligible cost–employers will reap the significant financial rewards of a qualified, productive, and talented workforce.