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Fair Employment Practices: A Broken Bargain for LGBT Workers of Color

In my years as an advocate for racial equality, I've heard countless stories from black men, women, and youth about barriers faced in school, college, finding a job, keeping a job, and being treated equally in the workplace. Despite laws that promote equal access to employment and protect workers from unfair practices, black workers can be subjected to hiring bias, unequal pay, and discrimination. We've worked tirelessly to enforce workplace protections so that all black people can have a fair shot at getting ahead.

Now, those laws aren't perfect, but imagine if we didn't have them. Imagine if co-workers made disparaging remarks about who you are, what you look like, or whom you love and there was nothing you could do about it. Imagine if you worked just as hard as your colleagues, then one day a new manager walked up and fired you just because you are black, but you didn't have any recourse, either with your supervisor, the human resources manager, or the law.

That's the case if you are black and lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT).

The federal Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, ethnicity, sex, or religion, still doesn't protect LGBT people. In 29 states it's perfectly legal to fire someone or make other employment decisions based on that person's sexual orientation. Thirty-three states lack laws that protect workers based on their gender identity.

Today the National Black Justice Coalition released "A Broken Bargain for LGBT Workers of Color," a groundbreaking report that examines how bias and prejudice based on race, sexual orientation, and gender identity/expression intersect to the detriment of LGBT workers of color.


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The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.