From Chick-fil-A to ENDA
The Chick-fil-A controversy stems from the millions of dollars the fast-food chain has donated to anti-LGBT and hate groups over the years, and to President Dan Cathy’s hostile remarks against marriage equality.
The brouhaha has garnered worldwide attention and sparked a slew of actions both against and in support of the company.
For us, it also indirectly spotlights a broader harsh reality facing millions of LGBT people: In many places in the country, we can be fired or denied employment simply because of who we are or who we love. Talk about hostile.
Imagine heading to work each day fearing it could be your last simply because a supervisor or colleague didn’t approve of you being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender; if they were appalled that you just married your same-sex partner, or that your family doesn’t look exactly like theirs.
This is the reality for millions of LGBT people, whether we work at a fast-food joint or a five-star restaurant; whether we are in the service industry or finance; whether we are a check-out clerk or a high-level manager.
This is also a problem with an easy fix. It’s called federal LGBT employment protections.
Yet, despite overwhelming public support for such protections, legislation continues to languish in Congress leaving millions of LGBT people and our families vulnerable to discrimination and hostile work environments, and compounding the stress and strain of trying to maintain a living in a tough economy.
This is way beyond the Chick-fil-A controversy, but if you do want to loop them back in, consider this:
According to the Huffington Post, the experience of Chick-fil-A employees varies drastically by location, but one thing is clear – in most states employees could be fired simply for being LGBT.
Kellie, a 23-year-old gay woman from Georgia who also requested her last name be withheld for fear of being outed in the press, worked at two different Chick-fil-A locations in Georgia. She loved working at the first location, she said, where nobody ever said anything homophobic or discriminatory. But at the second location, in Atlanta, ‘there was a lot of general homophobia.’ Managers would frequently make homophobic jokes, she said, and she felt that if she were to tell her colleagues she was gay, she would be fired. Eventually, she quit.
- It is still legal in 29 states to fire someone based on their sexual orientation, and in 34 states based on their gender identity or expression.
- A 2007 meta-analysis from the Williams Institute of 50 studies of LGBT job discrimination found consistent evidence of bias in the workplace. The analysis found that up to 68% of LGBT people reported experiencing employment discrimination, and up to 17 percent said they had been fired or denied employment.
- And, according to data from our National Transgender Discrimination Survey, we know that 78% of transgender and gender non-conforming people experienced harassment, mistreatment or discrimination on the job; 47% were fired, not hired or denied a promotion because of their identity.
Let’s make the workplace fair and safe, once and for all. Join us in working for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Please act now to help us move this vital legislation forward.