Documenting Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in State Employment

Source: Brad Sears, Nan Hunter, Christy Mallory, Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law & Public Policy, 2009

This report addresses whether there has been a widespread and persistent pattern of unconstitutional discrimination by state governments on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

This report is the result of research conducted during 2008 and 2009 by the Williams Institute. In addition, ten different law firms assisted with the project, with offices and attorneys from across the country. Also making contributions were scholars and experts from a number of academic disciplines, including history, political science, economics, sociology, and demography. The research resulted in a set of reports on employment law and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity for each of the fifty states, which are included as Appendices to this report. Based on these fifty state reports, plus additional studies conducted by the William Institute, literature reviews, and research projects conducted by the firms, we drafted and reviewed the following papers, presented here as a series of chapters summarizing the research findings. Based on this analysis, we conclude that:

– There is a widespread and persistent pattern of unconstitutional discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity against state government employees;

– There is no meaningful difference in the pattern and scope of employment discrimination against LGBT people by state governments compared to the private sector and other public sector employers; and

– The list of documented examples that we have compiled far under-represents the actual prevalence of employment discrimination against LGBT people by state and local governments.

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