A new poll from Out & Equal and Harris Interactive demonstrates that LGBT equality laws have a huge impact on businesses’ ability to attract talent to their states. LGBT respondents overwhelmingly expressed their desire to work in states that have marriage equality and employment protections and also said they’d be more likely to come out if they knew doing so wouldn’t put their job at risk:
- 34 percent of LGBT adults would feel comfortable coming out at work if Congress passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
- 60 percent of gay and lesbian adults would reject a job promotion if it required them to move to a state where their marriage is not recognized (up from 33 percent last year).
- 79 percent of gay and lesbian adults would prefer a job with an employer in a marriage equality state (up from 68 percent last year).
The benefits of coming out have been well documented, improving mental health, personal health, and overall happiness. Moreover, studies have found that out employees are more likely to flourish at work — including transgender employees — and even improve the productivity of their coworkers. Likewise, businesses with LGBT protections are more likely to recruit and retain employees with high morale.
Unfortunately, the study also found that many believe the national protections that ENDA would implement are already law, including 77 percent of heterosexual respondents and 67 percent of LGBT respondents. Only 21 states currently offer sexual orientation protections and opnly 16 offer gender identity protections, while no such protections are guaranteed at the federal level.