Researcher explains why federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act is needed

By Eric W. Dolan
Monday, April 8, 2013 20:00 EDT
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Psychologist Mikki Hebl screenshot
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New research from Rice University shows that non-discrimination laws protect LGBT individuals from being unfairly denied jobs.

Though currently no federal law prohibits job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act would change that. The proposed law has been introduced in nearly every Congress since 1994, but has so far failed to pass.

“People don’t feel like laws would be effective, they wouldn’t make a difference anyway,” Mikki Hebl, a professor of psychology at Rice University, explained in a video uploaded to YouTube. “Our research challenged this, and said, ‘Ah, this is something we can empirically test.’”

The study, which will be published in the scientific journal Psychology, Public Policy and Law, found gay and lesbian job applicants received more helpful and less hostile responses from employers in cities that provided legal protection. The finding was true both inside the laboratory and outside the laboratory.

“Bottom line: Legal protection, less discrimination,” Hebl said.

Previous research has found that openly gay job applicants were 40 percent less likely to be granted an interview compared to their straight counterparts. Discrimination against openly gay candidates was particularly strong in Southern and Midwestern states, as well as from employers seeking stereotypically masculine traits.

Watch video, uploaded to YouTube, below:

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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