Putting a Price on LGBT Discrimination in the Workforce

The workforce of America today is covered in trends and policies of marginalization. From women being squeezed out of the computer science field to an identical resume being passed up for one with a more “white” name on it, discrimination in the workforce hurts countless hardworking, Americans including those whom can still be legally fired in some states for sexual orientation and gender expression. What about employers though? Are there economic incentives for practicing discrimination, and if so, how strong are they?

In 2012, the Center for American Progress released a study on just that called The Costly Business of Discrimination; The Economic Costs of Discrimination and the Financial Benefits of Gay and Transgender Equality in the Workplace. The study broke the problem down into five categories of cost; Potential employees, retaining employees once they are hired, employee productivity, consumer buying power, and the potential to be sued.

So what was the estimated cost? Well, if we only consider the cost of replacing those individuals that are fired on the basis of LBGT discrimination, it’s an annual $64 billion. However if you’re thinking like an economist, that number is much larger once you take into account lost potential sales, worker productivity, and employes, as well as the risk of being sued. With so many costs associated with discrimination, it’s really no wonder that we see more and more corporations including anti-discrimination policies. It’s in their market incentives.

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