A recent study on the impact of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Pennsylvania found that the state ranked 24th out of 50 states for LGBT rights. The research indicates that while the state has made progress in providing increased protections for this group, it still has a long way to go.
How does the state’s treatment of LGBT people affect employment discrimination in the state?
Workplace discrimination against LGBT employees
Almost half of all LGBT people surveyed in Pennsylvania reported that they experienced harassment or discrimination in the workplace because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. The study found that the legal landscape in Pennsylvania puts LGBT people at increased risk of harassment and discrimination. The effects of this discrimination cost the state’s economy tens of millions of dollars every year.
Effects of LGBT discrimination in the workplace
Employment discrimination and harassment of LGBT individuals may contribute to increased economic instability in this group. Polling indicates that 25.9% of LGBT adults in the state report food insecurity, compared to 13.1% of non-LGBT adults. Additionally, 26.5% of LGBT adults in Pennsylvania have household incomes below $24,000, compared to 18.3% of non-LGBT adults. LGBT people also experience higher unemployment rates with 10.5% of LGBT adults facing unemployment, versus 5.2% of non-LGBT adults.
The report blames the patchwork of anti-discrimination laws, many of which do not specifically protect LGBT individuals, for creating an environment where discrimination can flourish in the state. Amending the state’s nondiscrimination law to expressly forbid discrimination against LGBT people in employment and other areas could improve the lives of LGBT people in the state.