On Tuesday, January 18, Clifford Rosky, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, was featured in television, radio, and newspaper coverage about the publication of a report to the Utah State Legislature on employment discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Utahns. Rosky co-authored the report, which was produced by Equality Utah, and contains a study conducted by UCLA’s Williams Institute. The report collects a broad range of information to examine discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Utahns in employment and to assess the likely impact of passing a statewide nondiscrimination law.
The new Williams Institute study, which was also co-authored by Rosky, found that 44% of LGB people and 66% of transgender people in Utah have experienced employment discrimination. The study analyzed data from a 2010 survey of over 939 LGBT people living in Utah, which is the state’s first survey of employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The data showed that employment discrimination is presently occurring in Utah, with close to 30% of LGB respondents and 45% of transgender respondents reporting that they experienced some form of workplace harassment on a weekly basis during the previous year. Over 26% of LGB respondents and 37% of transgender respondents fear discrimination by their current employer. Respondents’ qualitative responses indicated that LGBT Utahns have faced several forms of disparate treatment in the workplace because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, including being paid less for the same work, being asked to work longer hours, and being assigned less desirable shifts. These findings are consistent with other state-specific and national studies of sexual orientation and gender identity employment discrimination.
The report was submitted in advance of the 2011 Session of the Utah State Legislature, during which Senator Ben McAdams will propose statewide legislation to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment and housing. On the same day that the report was released, the City of Murray followed seven cities and three counties by voting unanimously to adopt similar policies in local ordinances.