A Workplace Divided: Understanding the Climate for LGBTQ+ Workers Nationwide

Produced by the HRC Foundation

The national findings underscore the persistence of workplace double standards and social isolation faced by LGBTQ+ people.

In the prior two studies, Degrees of Equality and The Cost of the Closet and The Rewards of Inclusion, the number of LGBTQ+ workers nationwide feeling compelled to be in the closet on the job has remained at above 50 percent. Over this decade of research, we have been able to better identify the key shapers of the workplace climate for LGBTQ+ inclusion, namely everyday non-work-related conversations and the primary impact of one’s immediate supervisor and working group over all other leaders and departments.

In "A Workplace Divided: Understanding the Climate for LGBTQ+ Workers Nationwide", HRC Foundation seeks to uncover the prevalence of LGBTQ+ workers feeling pressure to hide their sexual orientation and/or gender identity on the job and the cost of that hiding both to individuals and employers writ large. We also research the benefits to employers and workers when workplace climates are more welcoming of LGBTQ+ people.

HRC Foundation found that:

  • 46% of LGBTQ+ workers say they are closeted at work, compared to 50% in HRCF's groundbreaking 2008 Degrees of Equality report;
  • 1-in-5 LGBTQ+ workers report having been told or had coworkers imply that they should dress in a more feminine or masculine manner;
  • 53% of LGBTQ+ workers report hearing jokes about lesbian or gay people at least once in a while;
  • 31% of LGBTQ+ workers say they have felt unhappy or depressed at work;
  • and the top reason LGBTQ+ workers don't report negative comments they hear about LGBTQ+people to a supervisor or human resources? They don't think anything would be done about it — and they don't want to hurt their relationships with coworkers.


A Workplace Divided: Understanding the Climate for LGBTQ+ Workers Nationwide

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The Human Rights Campaign reports on news, events and resources of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation that are of interest to the general public and further our common mission to support the LGBTQ+ community.