New study exposes possible discrimination against LGBT Virginians in hiring

    The Rainbow Flag flies beneath the American flag at the Stonewall National Monument, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, in New York. The Rainbow Flag, an international symbol of LGBT liberation and pride, was flown for the first time at the monument. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

    A report released Thursday documents the apparent hiring discrimination that LGBT job applicants face in Virginia.

    The report from the Equal Rights Center comes in the wake of the General Assembly’s failure in the 2019 session to pass or even consider 15 bills designed to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

    In Virginia businesses or public institutions can legally discriminate against people in employment and housing and can deny or limit health insurance.

    And while the United States Supreme Court has legalized same-sex marriage in Virginia and across the country, the Virginia Constitution and Code of Virginia still have out-of-date language that prohibits equal marriage.

    A national nonprofit civil rights group based in D.C., the ERC used matched pair testing to compare how straight applicants and LGBT applicants were treated when applying for jobs across the Commonwealth.

    In three of the 10 tests, some form of discrimination appeared to have occurred.

    “Nobody should have to worry about paying the bills because of discrimination in hiring or in the workplace,” said ERC Executive Director Melvina Ford. “Discrimination is a threat to the livelihoods of LGBT individuals and robust civil rights laws should be passed to protect people on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity.”

    The testing and the results are detailed in the ERC’s report, Behind Closed Doors.

    The ERC says that while it’s hard to absolutely prove discrimination, the testing appears to indicate that discrimination based on sexual orientation continues to exist.

    The report lists recommendations for lawmakers and employers who wish to promote fairness and justice.

    Read the full report here.

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