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A Case for LGBT-Friendly Work Environments

A Case for LGBT-Friendly Work Environments

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A large percentage of college-educated LGBT employees remain closeted at work, increasing the likelihood of job dissatisfaction and lowering retention rates, according to a study released Tuesday by the Center for Work-Life Policy.

The study, published in the July/August issue of the Harvard Business Review, found that 48% of 2,952 survey respondents reported that they were not out at work. Those who are closeted are 73% more likely to leave their position within the next three years; 40% of those who said they are not out at work are also "less likely to trust their employer" than LGBT individuals who are open about their sexual orientation on the job.

"This study clearly shows that there is still a tremendous gap between implementation of LGBT-friendly policies and the ability and decision of employees to come out at work," said Todd Sears, founder of Out on the Street and an adviser on the study.

"For us to move forward, it is going to take gay leaders sharing their coming-out stories and straight leaders going beyond statements of support to action, to put real faces to the discussion. Only then will companies truly get the best out of their LGBT employees and win the support of the LGBT community and marketplace," Sears said.

The study was conducted by Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Karen Sumberg of the Center for Work-Life Policy.

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