A new study has found that almost half of all college-educated workers in the U.S. who are gay are in the closet at work. The study was conducted by the Center for Work-Life Policy. According to Yahoo! News, the study found that 48 percent of college-educated gay and lesbian people employed in the U.S. do not share their sexual orientation with their work colleagues. The study found that these employees often lead double lives; they are open about their sexual orientation in their personal life, but keep it hidden at their workplace.
There is no federal law prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has been proposed in Congress to extend the same protection against discrimination to GLBT people as other protected groups, but it has not yet been passed. California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits employers in California from discriminating against workers based on sexual orientation or gender identity. It is also prohibited by law in California to harass a worker based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Part of the reason many workers may not come out at work could be that 29 states do not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and there is no federal law yet that prohibits this kind of discrimination in hiring, firing, pay and promotions and other employment matters. GLBT workers in California also may not know that they are protected by California law. It is up to managers to communicate these policies to employees. A higher executive in a company who comes out as gay or transgendered can also help create a more open work environment.
Study: Nearly half of college-educated gay Americans are in the closet at work (Yahoo! News)