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LGBT discrimination in the workplace

While heartland states like Indiana are often considered less progressive than states on either coast, discrimination on the basis of sexual preference heeds no geographical boundaries. Cities and professions that are often thought of as liberal see their share of workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation as well.

A recent survey conducted by the Screen Actors Guild revealed that more than half of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender actors in Hollywood had heard anti-gay comments while on set. About 15 percent of the 5,700 respondents said that they identified as LGBT.

The survey found that LGBT actors also face discrimination when looking for acting opportunities. A third of those questioned in the survey felt that directors, casting directors and producers may be biased against LGBT actors.

One reason that these producers and executives may have such a bias could be due to marketing concerns. Almost half of the gay and lesbian respondents believed this to be the case as did 27 percent of those identifying as bisexual.

Additionally, gay and lesbian actors may find themselves pigeonholed into playing characters who are identified as LGBT. The survey found that the vast majority of LGBT actors had played LGBT roles, whereas the majority of heterosexual actors had never played an LGBT character. Actors who had played LGBT characters said that these roles have since made it harder for them to get hired to play a straight character.

An employee who has been affected by workplace discrimination based upon sexual orientation may wish to speak with an attorney that has experience in employment law. The attorney may be able to determine whether there are any remedies available under federal or state law which may help redress this discrimination.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "LGBT actors still face discrimination, survey says", Ryan Faughnder, September 27, 2013

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