LGBTQIA+ Rights in the Workplace

While the battle to legalize gay marriage dominated many of the early conversations about gay rights, rights and protections in the workplace remain a major concern for LGBTQIA+ activists and allies. In the United States, protections from bias in hiring, promotion, job assignment, termination, compensation and harassment on the basis of their sexual orientation or identity vary greatly by state. Some states only protect certain workers or protect individuals based on certain criteria (such as sexual orientation but not gender identity), but sixteen states have no protections at all. The protection of LGBTQIA+ individuals can often be left to the discretion of American corporations.


Each year, the Human Rights Campaign* produces the Corporate Equality Index (CEI), which rates companies on their treatment of LGBTQIA+ employees and their families. The CEI features broad parameters including sexual orientation and gender identity in the company’s non-discrimination policy, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive benefits, organizational LGBTQIA+ competency, and public commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community. Additionally, companies committed to the just treatment of transgender people have signed on to the Business Statement for Trans Equality (BSTE.) If you select this cause, OpenInvest invests you in well-rated companies with CEI scores of 100 and companies that have signed on to the BSTE, and divests you from poorly-rated companies with scores below 75.

*OpenInvest, and its services, are in no way affiliated with or sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), the Corporate Equality Index (CEI), or any other of the HRC’s affiliates or publications.

Additional Information

Human Rights Campaign: Employment Protections by State

Human Rights Campaign: Corporate Equality Index

Cornell Law