Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

Employment and Sexual Orientation: Disclosure and Discrimination in the Workplace

Document type Article
Author Badgett, M.V. Lee
Journal Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services
Volume 4
Date 2008 Oct
ISSN 1053-8720, 1540-4056
Pages 29-52


Economist, sociologists, and other social scientists have begun to study the influence of sexual orientation on individuals in the labor market, particularly with respect to employment discrimination. The conceptual framework developed in this paper connects lesbian, gay, and bixexual workers' disclosure of their sexual orientation to the economic and social characteristics of the workplace. Disclosure creates the potential for discrimination by employers and coworkers. The framework shows how sexual orientation operates independently and in interaction with other important characteristics such as race and gender. A review of existing research supports the hypothesis that discrimination against gay workers exists. Both workplace groups for gays and lesbians and those who work gay and lesbian workers (such as supervisors, personnel managers, and counselors) need to understand the relationship between disclosure and discrimination in order to make workplaces supportive of lesbian, gay, and bisexual workers.