The Center for American Progress has done another study on the effects of discrimination against GLBT people.
The Costly Business of Discrimination (pdf) by Crosby Burns documents the price to be paid for workplace discrimination: $64 billion. That's with a B.
That number in part represents the annual cost of losing and replacing more than 2 million American workers due to unfairness and discrimination, a significant number of whom are gay or transgender.
42% of gay individuals say they have experienced some form of workplace discrimination in their lifetimes. 90% of transgender people report having experienced some form of harassment, mistreatment, or discrimination on the job. This includes 47% who said they were either fired, denied employment, or denied promotion because of their gender identity.
Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia prohibit discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation. Five of those states (New York, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Maryland and Delaware)…and all the others…do not protect people from discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
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 compared to businesses that evaluate individuals based solely on their qualifications and capacity to contribute.Recruitment and retention are big issues in the economic performance of businesses.
Considering the high rates of discrimination facing the gay and transgender workforce today, discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity represents a serious threat to the profitability and financial health of businesses large and small throughout the United States.
According to a recent study, to replace a departing employee costs somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000 for an hourly worker, and between $75,000 and $211,000 for an executive making $100,000 a year.Sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in the workplace compromise the labor productivity and workplace output, increasing worker absenteeism and creating a less motivated, less committed workforce. When discriminatory practices become known, there is also an effect on customer demand (gay consumer buying power worldwide is estimated at 6% of the global consumer market). Finally, discrimination can expose businesses to costly litigation.
Businesses, however, are also increasingly liable for discrimination suits even in states that have not outlawed gay and transgender discrimination, making discrimination economically unwise for companies in all 50 states. In 2010 the top 10 private plaintiff employment discrimination lawsuits cost firms more than $346 million.Absent a federal law to protect gay and transgender workers, businesses can still act on their own.
In fact companies that don’t protect and support gay and transgender workers are increasingly out of step with most of corporate America. Fully 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies have nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation, and 49 percent include gender identity. Higher up on the Fortune ladder, 96 percent of Fortune 50 companies have nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation, and 74 percent include gender identity.
Employers, however, can and should do more than institute inclusive nondiscrimination policies to realize the significant financial benefits of a gay- and transgender-friendly workplace. Employers should also take proactive steps to promote a positive and inclusive workplace for all of their employees, which, as we detail later in this report, will bring a substantial amount of cash into company coffers. In addition to nondiscrimination policies, employers can and should offer equal health insurance benefits for employees with same-sex partners. Employers can and should also offer health insurance that provides transgender employees the medically necessary care they require. By actively implementing a host of workplace policies such as these—most at zero or negligible cost—employers will reap the significant financial rewards of a qualified, productive, and talented workforce.