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Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws Influencing Turnover

Out & Equal, the premier nonprofit organization working exclusively on LGBTQ+ workplace equity, inclusion, and belonging, has announced the release of its latest report, Talent on the Move—Where Do We Go from Here, which examines how shifting public policy has impacted LGBTQ+ individuals and allies and identifies the actionable steps employers can take to respond. 

“For the past two decades, the LGBTQ+ movement has made significant advancements in equality, inclusion, and belonging in nearly all aspects of society and culture,” says Erin Uritus, CEO of Out & Equal. “Today, that progress is being challenged with pervasive intensity. Since 2015, anti-LGBTQ+ legislation has been on the rise. 2023 set a record, which 2024 is well on pace to surpass with more than 475 pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation already introduced in state legislatures. These bills have devastating impacts on LGBTQ+ people, their families, their workplaces, and their communities. We are at a tipping point. It’s why now, more than ever before, the LGBTQ+ community needs action paired with authentic allyship. When and where public policy falls short, businesses and their leaders have, can, and must become changemakers.”  

Key findings from the report are below.  

  • The legislative landscape is having a detrimental effect on LGBTQ+ people and allies. Most (94%) respondents feel LGBTQ+ equality has worsened in the last year. Nearly half (45%) feel less safe in their state because of changes in LGBTQ+ rights. Approximately 31% of respondents have considered relocating because of feeling less safe in their state of residence due to state-level policy changes.  
  • Anti-LGBTQ+ legislation is altering the experience of LGBTQ+ people and allies in the workplace. Nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents report hearing jokes about the LGBTQ+ community at work. Of those who report hearing jokes, 84% report hearing jokes about transgender people. Further, 40% say they do not feel comfortable discussing the impact of legislative changes on them and their families with their supervisors. And nearly four in five (79%) report that the laws would affect whether they would relocate for a new job or position in a particular state.  
  • LGBTQ+ people and allies expect their employers and workplaces to act and provide support. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents feel that their company did not respond sufficiently to the increase in the anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.  

If they or their family were impacted by the legislation, respondents say their employer could best support them by: 

  • offering flexible or remote work options (56%); 
  • engaging in public policy advocacy (55%); 
  • providing employer-funded relocation resources (52%); 
  • providing support for out-of-state travel (50%); and 
  • hosting dedicated employee assistance programs (EAPs) for employees struggling with changing legislation (42%). 

“When lawmakers flood state houses with anti-LGBTQ+ bills, they are not just hurting LGBTQ+ people and their families, they are throwing up roadblocks to business growth,” says Deena Fidas, chief program and partnerships officer at Out & Equal. “This research demonstrates that public policy aimed at curbing the fundamental rights of the LGBTQ+ community also curbs businesses’ ability to attract and retain talent, relocate employees with ease, and generally be nimble in the market. Inclusion and belonging are pillars that are both moral imperatives and smart business practice. With the insights shared in this report, employers can reflect on their workplace policies and ensure they are taking the right steps to support this community with the resources they need.” 

Tags: LGBTQ+, Turnover

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