Survey: Workplace discrimination against gays is common

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com November 15 2002 12:00 AM ET

Gay people, along with the elderly and people with physical disabilities, are the most likely to experience workplace discrimination, according to a majority of respondents to a national poll, the results of which were released Wednesday.

Almost half of gay, lesbian, and bisexual respondents (45%) said that they as a group are often discriminated against at work. Nearly one third of all adults (29%) perceive this level of discrimination against gays and lesbians.

When it comes to jokes told in the workplace about minorities, 44% said they recall hearing jokes about gays and lesbians. Sixty-four percent of the respondents who self-identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered said they recall hearing jokes about gay and transgendered people at work.

According to a press release from Harris Interactive, which conducted the poll in collaboration with PR and marketing firm Witeck-Combs Communications, because the cross section of people surveyed was "quite large compared to most published opinion polls," it was possible to analyze the responses of five ethnic and sexual minority groups and compare their replies with those of all adults. These results show that gays and lesbians and African-Americans are significantly more likely to see themselves as discriminated against. When it comes to jokes in the workplace, gays and lesbians and Hispanics are more likely than other groups to report hearing jokes about people like themselves.

The poll was based on online interviews with a nationwide cross section of 2,203 adults surveyed between August 26 and September 2.