According to a study released in September by StartOut, LGBTQ individuals in Maryland and across the U.S. are still facing discrimination in the business world. Experts say that this problem is highly prevalent in the world of startup companies and exists even in states with laws that don’t outright permit discrimination.
StartOut, a nonprofit that advocates on behalf of LGBTQ entrepreneurs, pointed out in its recent study that more than half of all U.S. states allow employers to fire workers based on sexual orientation. The study also discovered that nationwide, some 37 percent of LGBTQ entrepreneurs felt it necessary to hide details about their sexuality because they believed that being open would negatively impact their ability to obtain funding.
The research showed significant male-to-female disparities in fundraising success. Although cultural acceptance of LGBTQ individuals is increasing, younger workers were shown to be more likely to hide their sexual orientations from their employers. Experts note that the federal government fails to define LGBTQ individuals as underrepresented minorities and that funding for equality measures is lacking. As a result, firms can claim they’re being diverse yet maintain hiring policies that actively exclude certain groups.
LGBTQ Americans and other underrepresented groups may find that existing laws hinder their ability to earn a living. In many cases, employers can take discriminatory actions like improperly terminating someone with minimal consequences. It may be necessary for the wronged party to take specific steps, such as filing a lawsuit or unfair treatment complaint. Because such actions can lead to further mistreatment, however, it may be smart to discuss the options with a lawyer.