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LGBTQ employees likely to witness or experience discrimination

A survey by Glassdoor found that 53 percent of employees who are LGBTQ have witnessed or experienced anti-LGBTQ statements by people they work with. For employees in Massachusetts, such behavior could rise to the level of actionable discrimination. Around 30 percent of non-LGBTQ employees said they had witnessed the same sort of statements. According to a group leader with Glassdoor, 26 states do not have protections on the books for LGBTQ workers. Many employees believe coming out to employers and co-workers could negatively impact their careers.

The U.S. House of Representatives, in May 2019, passed The Equality Act, a piece of legislation designed to expand the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The expansion would ban discrimination against employees or potential employees on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or sex. In 2015, when the bill was introduced, only three companies, Levi Strauss & Co., The Dow Chemical Company and Apple, offered public support. The bill had the support of 161 corporations by the time of its passage by the House.

A senior director with Glassdoor said that companies have both moral and business incentives to support LGBTQ protections. A diverse workforce improves creativity, innovation and productivity, he said, and employers know it's the right thing to do. The Equality Act is not expected to make it through the Senate though, so actionable discrimination may be harder to prove for LGBTQ workers.

An attorney with experience handling workplace discrimination cases might be able to help employees who believe they have been discriminated against at work or in applying for a job. Boston, Massachusetts, employee discrimination attorneys may provide advice regarding state and federal protections and the rights of employees to fair treatment and a safe work environment. An attorney might be able to negotiate relief with an employer or represent the client during official hearings.

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