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LGBT Bias Hurts U.S. Economic Growth, Fed President Says

A woman working on a laptop in front of a rainbow flag.

​The unemployment rate for people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) is nearly double the national average, according to the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. That bias, John Williams said, is holding back the economic growth of the U.S.

The Fed is making its own workplace and policies more inclusive, including flying the LGBT rainbow pride flag outside its New York City offices for the first time in June, which is LGBT Pride Month, and giving employees the option to add gender pronouns to official e-mail signatures, Bloomberg reported.

Williams made his remarks at the OPEN Finance Forum on Tuesday in New York City, calling for organizations to have cultures where people feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work.

SHRM Online has collected the following stories from its archives and other trusted news sources on the topic of LGBT bias in the workplace: 

Fed's Williams Says Bias in U.S. Economy Is Holding Back Growth

Nearly half of LGBT people are closeted at work, and the top reason LGBT workers don't report negative comments they hear about LGBT employees is because they don't believe that anything will be done about it, Williams said.

"This gets to the heart of why the 'inclusion' piece of diversity and inclusion is essential, and a personal priority. Obviously, there's a moral imperative for diversity, and numerous studies have shown the benefits to both productivity and the bottom line."

State LGBT+ Business Climate Index 

A report from Out Leadership ranked U.S. states on how inclusive they are of LGBT+ community. It incorporates 20 carefully selected and nuanced markers. Massachusetts, California and Connecticut scored highest, while South Dakota, South Carolina and Mississippi ranked at the bottom. 
(Out Leadership)

Why it Can Still be Hard to be LGBTQ at the Office

Why is the workplace still difficult terrain for many LGBTQ adults—one that can present its own particular complications and challenges?

Among the reasons, here's one startling fact: In the U.S., you can still be fired in 26 states simply for being LGBTQ, with no legal recourse. Even after decades of trying, the U.S. Congress seems unlikely to explicitly extend federal employment non-discrimination protections to LGBTQ Americans anytime soon.
(Linked In)  

Memo to Employees Announcing the Gender Transition of a Co-worker 

This template from the Society for Human Resource Management is a resource that HR professionals may use—with the employee's permission—to inform staff of the gender transition that the employee is or will be undergoing. It also addresses some common questions.
(SHRM Online

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Managing Equal Employment Opportunity]

Multinationals Seeking Top Expat Talent Battle Anti-LGBT Laws 

Although more than two dozen countries have legalized same-sex marriage, some 70 nations have anti-LGBT laws, and many more have discriminatory policies, according to Bloomberg. That's pressuring global companies, which depend on being able to move talented employees around the world, to find ways to help workers and their families in countries that lack protections for LGBT people.

Quick Take: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Workplace Issues 

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association says there are 74
countries that prohibit discrimination in employment because of sexual orientation. They include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. And as of 2018, 93 percent of Fortune 500 companies have non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation.

Are Federal LGBT Protections Coming to the Workplace?

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments this fall on whether federal law prohibits employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation and gender identity—and Congress is considering a bill that would codify protections based on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) status. 
The proposed Equality Act (H.R. 5) would afford broader protections than what the Supreme Court is currently considering in the cases before it.
(SHRM Online)


​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.