The Ethics of Sexual Orientation-Based Discrimination in the Workplace

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Tangibly speaking, discrimination occurring on the basis of sexual orientation, while small in aggregate numbers, reaches the same rates as gendered discrimination against women in the workplace, when measured at a per capita rate, and creates a situation in which homosexual and transgendered individuals typically earn 10 or more percent less income than their heterosexual peers (Croteau, 1996). With this, sexual orientation-based discrimination is a significant problem in American society. In a broad sense, the pervasiveness of this discrimination is facilitated by the significant permeation of religious bias into America's ostensibly secular democracy and civil society. Tangibly, large religious organizations such as the Catholic and Mormon Churches have waged proverbial wars against LGBT individuals, seeking to deny them of equal rights in many American states, with a notable example being the battle over Proposition 8 in the state of California (Wilcox & Iida, 2011, 181-183). Furthermore, anti-gay hate speech emerging from groups such as Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church has permeated the country's public sphere, and thus contributed to a climate that is hostile to LGBT individuals, and which has unfortunately seeped into the business environment, in both systematic and idiosyncratic ways (Barrett-Fox, 2010, 4-5).


Legally, the topic of LGBT discrimination in the workplace is interesting because of the varying levels of protection afforded to the LGBT community across various states, and at the federal level, as well as in comparing the United States to other Western democracies (Tilcsik, 2011, 601-602) Tangibly, while the United States Constitution and ...

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...odology and Findings. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 48(2), 195-209.

Tilcsik, A. (2011). Pride and Prejudice: Discrimination against Openly Gay Men in the United States. American Journal of Sociology, 117(2), 586-626.

Wilcox, C., & Iida, R. (2011). Evangelicals, the Christian Right, and Gay and Lesbian Rights in the United States: Simple and Complex Stories. In D. Rayside & C. Wilcox (Eds.), Faith, Politics, and Sexual Diversity in Canada and the United States. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia Press

Wintermute, R. (2002). Sexual Orientation and Human Rights: The United States Constitution, the European Convention and the Canadian Charter. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Paperbacks.

Woods, J. B. (2010). Gay-Straight Alliances and Sanctioning Pretextual Discrimination under the Equal Access Act. New York University Review of Law & Social Change, 34, 373-

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