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Study: Better Qualified LGBT Applicants Face Discrimination From Federal Contractors

A new study by Freedom to Work and the Equal Rights Center demonstrates that better qualified LGBT applicants are 23% less likely than applicants who don’t identify as LGBT to get a call back from some federal contractors, reports

Report on employment discrimination exxon mobilLast month, President Barack Obama announced that the White House is preparing an executive order banning employment discrimination based on gender identity for federal employees.

The study, titled Federal Contractors Show Anti-LGBT Hiring Bias, sent two fictitious resumes - one of which mentioned a leadership role in an LGBT organization - to 100 positions across eight federal contractors including ExxonMobil and General Electric.

ExxonMobil has a history of repeatedly rejecting LGBT workplace discrimination policiesand have even been taken to court for anti-gay discrimination.

The LGBT resume always included a higher grade point average and stronger work experience. Despite the stronger credentials, the LGBT applicant was much less likely to get called back.

A report infographic demonstrates one example of the application process through ExxonMobil.

The report concludes that both the ERC and FTW applaud Obama’s executive order which will finally give LGBT employees legal recourse to address work discrimination.

On June 25, 140 religious leaders petitioned for an exemption from the pending executive order.

Watch President Obama's Pride Month address at which he announced the executive order, AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. I don't doubt there's a lot of discrimination against gay job-seekers, but I would never hire an assistant office manager for the position of office assistant. She's overqualified.

    Posted by: BobN | Jul 4, 2014 12:11:53 PM

  2. The study is invalid. It compared "office assistant" verses "assistant office manager." The two are extremely different. They result may have been the same if the jobs were identical, but we don't know that.

    Posted by: Chris Lamparello | Jul 4, 2014 12:22:02 PM

  3. NO doubt that gays are discriminated since the value of company reflects the value of its leaders, and most of those leaders are 50 above.

    Posted by: ppp | Jul 4, 2014 1:22:41 PM

  4. What we don't know is what the job description says. So, at the end of the day, we don't know why she was not called back.

    However, as a professional office clerical worker (secretary/admin asst/office assistant/office manager/executive assistant), the jobs of administrative assistant, office assistant, and assistant office manager are pretty much the same job.

    Also, there is a chance that the hiring person realizes that the higher GPA might not make a career of being in the job, and will be looking to leave or for career advancement. So, while I won't necessarily say that discrimination is at the root of the no-call back, I will say that it looks pretty suspicious, especially since they are willing to hold the job for someone who has not responded to their repeated attempts to give the job to someone else..

    Posted by: Guy Johnson | Jul 4, 2014 1:29:16 PM

  5. So many self-hating gay white males who come to this website and defend total usual.

    Posted by: Kieran | Jul 4, 2014 1:59:47 PM

  6. Kieran: You are right. This is full of trolls, unfortunately

    Posted by: jjose712 | Jul 4, 2014 2:53:16 PM

  7. The LGBT population really needs to start focusing on total equality and not just marriage. There is a lot of discrimination still in daily life and I think it might get worse if do not react aggressively.

    Posted by: RK | Jul 4, 2014 3:06:18 PM

  8. The statistics aren't really that compelling. There were 16 responses for the non-gay applicant, and 13 for the gay applicant.
    They calculated the 23% without reporting any confidence interval. They ignore the paired structure of their experiment when reporting these results, which is a huge red flag that they are fishing for results.

    Posted by: Raphael | Jul 4, 2014 3:55:48 PM

  9. Look, this is the FOURTH TIME you've embedded a video of Barack Obama's address to the LGBT reception.

    Get over it! It has nothing to do with this post.

    Posted by: Randy | Jul 4, 2014 5:46:35 PM

  10. @Raphael : the study is a joke - the difference they claim to have measured is consistent with a random choice between applicants in each category.

    One thing completely missing - a second set of resumes with someone with exactly the same qualifications as the LGBT ones but listing a "leadership role" in a non-LGBT organization instead of an LGBT one. For a low level position receiving lots of resumes, a manager may simply go down a list and pick the first 5 suitably qualified candidates, and send follow-ups to those. If the HR department is trying to avoid bias or wants to be able to show that it is attempting to prevent bias, it may randomize the order in which resumes appear, so it is possible for random events to result in the better qualified candidate not being noticed. You need a test that can catch such behavior.

    There is one hint that these guys are a bunch of flakes: their "Results and Methodology" page states, as an explanation for "This means that the LGBT resumes were 23 percent less likely to receive a call-back," that "this percentage was calculated using the formula (N-L)÷L where L equals the percentage of times the LGBT resumes received a call-back, and N equals percentage of times the non-LGBT resumes received a call-back."

    What you'd actually do is divide by N, not L, but that gives you 19%, which doesn't sound quite as bad as 23%. A real researcher writing for a peer-reviewed journal would not provide the formula either - you can trivially figure out what they did from the numbers provided, so they'd cut the verbiage - most journals charge authors based on how many pages the paper takes up.

    Posted by: Bill | Jul 4, 2014 10:43:06 PM

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