The rainbow gay PRIDE flag is carried down Peachtree Street during the 2007 PRIDE parade in Atlanta. (ELISSA EUBANKS/AJC staff)
Photo: Elissa Eubanks
Photo: Elissa Eubanks

Study: Georgia second for occurrence of LGBT workplace discrimination

Georgia employers saw the second-highest rate of complaints of workplace discrimination from LGBT employees in the nation, according to a recent study.

The report, compiled by InsuranceQuotes.com, a website that allows users to compare coverage prices online, found there were 4.2 charges made per 100,000 residents between 2014 and 2017. LGBT employees filed 432 charges of discrimination during those years.

The study analyzed statistics from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, looking at complaints related to gender identity and sexual orientation.

Washington, D.C., had the highest occurrence of complaints with 10.2 per 100,000 residents.

Georgia is one of three states that does not have an explicit anti-discrimination law that protects members of the LGBT community. There is no federal law banning discrimination against sexual orientation or gender identity, but there are protections for people based on things such as race, color, sex, age and disability.

Jeff Graham, the executive director of the LGBT-rights organization Georgia Equality, said the lack of state-specific protections is a problem.

“Atlanta is home to so many large companies that offer employment protections, including sexual orientation and gender identity,” he said. “But we’re in a state that has such little protections for any group of people.”

Graham said many members of the LGBT community in Georgia find that they’re accepted by friends, family and co-workers but may be discriminated against by a supervisor, passed over for a promotion or terminated because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Employees will file a grievance with the EEOC,” he said, “and that’s when they find out there are no explicit (state) protections.”

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