A Decade of Research into the Workplace Environment for LGBTQ People

Since 2008, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Workplace Equality Program has conducted three major national studies of the workplace environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) workers: Degrees of Equality, The Cost of the Closet and the Rewards of Inclusion, and now, A Workplace Divided: Understanding the Climate for LGBTQ Workers Nationwide.

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. In A Workplace Divided: Understanding the Climate for LGBTQ Workers Nationwide, we seek 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 hiding both to individuals and employers writ large.

These studies also research the benefits to employers and workers when workplace climates are more welcoming of LGBTQ people. 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.


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