Federal agency calls on Congress to pass LGBTQ anti-discrimination law
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, an independent agency tasked with developing and enhancing federal civil rights laws, released a report on Wednesday outlining the “long, serious and pervasive history” of employment discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans and called for federal legislation to address the issue.
Following the release, the Commission’s chair, Catherine E. Lhamon, noted this new report, titled “Working for Inclusion,” is the first investigation in the Commission’s 60-year history to focus solely on LGBT civil rights.
The 154-page report, addressed to President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, compiled the most recent research on LGBT employment discrimination.
The report concluded LGBT workers have faced a “history of official and unofficial employment discrimination by both federal, state, and local governments and private employers.” The report also found federal data sources do not effectively capture rates of LGBT employment discrimination.
In addressing the pervasiveness of LGBT employment discrimination, the report cited the 2008 General Social Survey, which found 42 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual employees “experienced at least one form of employment discrimination at some point in their lives.” The report also cited findings from the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which found 90 percent of transgender employees reported experiencing harassment, mistreatment or discrimination at work or taking actions (such as hiding their gender identity) to avoid being subjected to such behavior.
The report also concluded the “inconsistent and irreconcilable patchwork” of state laws and federal court decisions dealing with anti-LGBT workplace discrimination “render LGBT employees insufficiently protected from workplace discrimination.”Currently, for example, 28 states do not have laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and 32 states do not protect against discrimination on the basis of gender identity or presentation.