Most small businesses back laws to protect LGBT workers, survey says

More than two-thirds of small businesses believe federal and state laws should prohibit employment discrimination against gay and transgender people, according to a national poll.

The survey from the Small Business Majority, a national small business advocacy organization, also found that 63% believe an employer shouldn’t be able to fire or refuse to hire someone who is gay, lesbian or transgender if it conflicts with their religious beliefs.

Another 6 in 10 small business owners said laws that protect against discrimination can improve their revenues because these kinds of laws help employers attract the best and brightest employees.

“Policies that encourage workplace discrimination introduce inefficiencies and costs that cut into profits and undermine small businesses’ bottom lines,” John Arensmeyer, founder and CEO of Small Business Majority, said in a statement.

More than two-thirds of small business owners believe federal law should prohibit employment discrimination against people because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. About 81% didn’t realize there is no federal law that consistently protects LGBT individuals from employment discrimination.


Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have passed laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, according to the Human Rights Campaign. In addition Washington, D.C., and 16 states prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.

There are no laws in 29 states that ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and in 34 states that do so based on gender identity.

As of April about 88% of Fortune 500 companies had implemented non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation and 57% had policies that include gender identity, the Human Rights Campaign said.

“Implementing nondiscrimination laws that allow employers to treat all people equally, regardless of sexual orientation, will help small businesses retain quality employees and free them from an extra administrative burden,” Arensmeyer said.

The poll was conducted in April by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.


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