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LGBT workers pushed into closet by discrimination fears

On Behalf of | Aug 28, 2018 | LGBTQ Workplace Discrimination

Despite the fact that lots of Florida companies proclaim their LGBT-friendly credentials, many LGBT workers choose to stay closeted on the job. While there are a number of reasons for this phenomenon, one of the most common and well-founded is the fear of discrimination. For example, in the federal government, the Obama administration hosted Pride celebrations and officials spoke frequently about LGBT right and expanded benefits. But with the change to the Trump administration, political appointees regularly argue against LGBT rights, pushing many federal workers back into the closet.

In one study released by the Human Rights Campaign, 46 percent of LGBT respondents said they stay in the closet while at work. The study found results consistent with other reports looking to measure the level of discrimination to which LGBT workers are subject on the job. Despite the passage of 10 years since HRC’s first study on the topic, the percentage of closeted workers has barely moved during that time. Of the respondents, 38 percent of closeted workers said that they were afraid of the impact of stereotypes on their jobs.

In addition, 28 percent said that they felt that they had to actively lie about their personal life. Another 17 percent of respondents said that they were exhausted from the emotional energy expended in the process of concealing their sexual orientation. Closeted workers may hesitate to participate in discussions about weekend activities and social lives, creating a sense of alienation and exclusion from their coworkers.

Despite the acceptance of same-sex marriage and other important accomplishments of the LGBT rights movement, people often face limited protections against workplace discrimination. However, people who have lost jobs or promotions, seen reduced pay or been harassed on the job due to their sexual orientation can get legal assistance from an employment lawyer.