Study reveals anti-LGBT bias by major federal contractors

Anti-ExxonMobil protestors

A Photo by Brian Harkin/Getty Images


Anti-LGBT discrimination in the workplace is alive and well in corporate America. That may not exactly be news to most of us, but now there is new data to back up what we already knew.

The Equal Rights Center and Freedom to Work recently released the results of a one-year study in which fake resumes were submitted to eight different federal contracting firms. In total, resumes were submitted in response to 100 different job postings listed by ExxonMobil, General Electric, L-3 Communications, AmerisourceBergen, Supreme Group Holding SARL, L-3 Communications, Fluor and URS.

In each instance, a pair of similar resumes was submitted in response to a job listing. The resumes were virtually identical in almost every regard, with one notable exception – one resume hinted that the applicant may be a member of the LGBT community via a reference to a leadership position in an LGBT rights group. In each case, the resume with the LGBT reference also included stronger credentials, as shown in the example below featuring two fictitious resumes presented to ExxonMobil.

ExxonMobil LGBT discrimination

The study revealed that the better qualified LGBT-related applicants were 23 percent less likely to receive a call in response to their resume submission than their fictitious less suitable counterpart.

“Despite significant progress in advancing civil rights and equality, employment discrimination remains a persistent barrier for the LGBT community,” said Melvina Ford, executive director of the Equal Rights Center.

Tico Almeida, president and founder of Freedom to Work added, “As much progress as our LGBT community has made in freedom to marry, there’s still a lot to be done to make sure our LGBT community has the freedom to work without discrimination.”

The study was initiated in December 2012, prompted by President Obama’s indication that he wouldn’t be signing an executive order prohibiting federal government contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Equal Rights Center and Freedom to Work concluded their experiment in December 2013, releasing the results shortly after the President’s Pride month announcement that he intends to move forward with the executive order which will require companies like ExxonMobil and other federal contractors, which employ approximately 20 percent of the total U.S. workforce, to adopt LGBT workplace protections.

LGBT rights advocates have urged the President to take action as 29 states still allow employers to fire or deny employment to an individual based on his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Taxpayers should never have to subsidize the kind of anti-LGBT discrimination that was uncovered during this year-long study of contractors with inadequate LGBT workplace protections,” said Almeida. “President Obama’s upcoming executive order will send a strong message that government contracts should be staffed with the highest qualified job candidates, and nobody should ever lose out on a career opportunity just because of who they are or whom they love. President Obama’s executive action to protect LGBT workers confirms that he has advanced fairness for LGBT Americans more than all of his predecessors combined.”

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