While society’s outlook toward LGBTQ individuals has improved over the past 20 years, we still have a long way to go. LGBTQ people are still facing discrimination in the workplace, with more than half (53%) of LGBTQ employees reporting having experienced or seen anti-LGBTQ behavior by co-workers, according to Glassdoor report released on Thursday.

The report, conducted by the Harris Poll, surveyed more than 6,100 US adults, more than 500 of whom are employed and identify as LGBTQ. Because of the prejudice these employees still face, some 43% said they are not fully “out” at work, the report found.

SEE: Transgender employees in tech: Why this “progressive” industry has more work to do to achieve true gender inclusivity (TechRepublic cover story)

Nearly half (47%) of LGBTQ respondents said they felt being out at work could potentially hurt their career, whether by causing them to lose their job, be overlooked for a promotion, or get excluded from big projects.

Because of these concerns, LGBTQ employees actively seek out jobs that publicly have supportive work environments, the report found. Some 70% of LGBTQ respondents said they would not apply to a company that does not support LGBTQ employees.

“Still today, 26 states do not protect LGBTQ employees at work and many of these employees believe coming out could hurt their career. This is a wake-up call to employers and lawmakers,” said Jesus Suarez, Glassdoor’s LGBTQ and ally employee group leader, in a press release. “Many employers have an opportunity to build or strengthen the foundation for an inclusive culture that encourages employees to bring their full selves to work.”

Some 68% of LGBTQ employees said their current companies could be taking more steps to better support them and their allies in the workplace, the report added.

To help employers be more inclusive, the report outlined the following steps companies can take to create a more supportive environment for LGBTQ employees.

  • Conduct anonymous, company-wide surveys to determine whether or not LGBTQ employees feel a sense of inclusion and belonging, and crowdsource opinions on what you could be doing better
  • Hold company-wide LGBTQ competency trainings
  • Establish an employee resource group for LGBTQ employees and allies
  • Support LGBTQ organizations: coordinate a group for your local pride march, donate to a relevant nonprofit or volunteer with a local charity
  • Offer LGBTQ-inclusive benefits, such as covering gender confirmation surgery or fertility treatments for same-sex couples trying to have children

For more, check out TechRepublic’s article on why inclusion is necessary for digital transformation.

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