NEW SURVEY: Michigan Small Businesses Support Non-Discrimination Protections for Gay Employees

Unity Michigan Explains Findings Consistent with State’s Commitment to Fairness

June 20, 2013– The Small Business Majority has released an opinion poll showing that a majority of small business owners support non-discrimination protections for gay and transgender workers.

Not only did small business owners support these protections against employment discrimination, but a majority believed that such laws already existed.

“It’s true, but not everyone knows: Here in Michigan, you can be legally fired from your job just for being gay or transgender,” said Jon Hoadley of the Unity Michigan coalition.

According to the poll, seven in 10 small businesses think businesses are hurt in their efforts to attract the best talent by discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The poll, conducted April 8-17, 2013 by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, found 54 percent of Michigan entrepreneurs believe federal law should prohibit employment discrimination against gay and transgender people, and 61 percent believe Michigan should have a law prohibiting this type of discrimination. A sweeping 76 percent didn’t realize it’s currently legal under federal law to fire or refuse to hire someone because they are gay, lesbian or transgender, and 73 percent were unaware it is legal in Michigan to refuse to hire someone based on sexual preference or gender identity.

The respondents were majority Republican, with 50 percent identifying as Republican, 27 percent as Democrat and 13 percent as independent or other.

“Poll after poll has shown that across the board, a majority of Michiganders support fairness and equality—including small business owners,” Hoadley said. “It’s time Michigan steps up to treat all workers fairly and equally.”

Check out the fact sheet for Michigan here.

The Small Business Majority is a national nonprofit organization focused on solving the biggest problems facing America’s 28 million small businesses.

The Unity Michigan Coalition works to ensure that all Michiganders are treated fairly by advancing non-discrimination policies.

The Unity Michigan Coalition includes the ACLU of Michigan, Affirmations, Equality Michigan, KICK, the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, and the Ruth Ellis Center.



Unity on the latest polling

Unity Michigan’s statement on today’s poll from Glengariff Group:
“The vast majority of Michiganders support fairness and equality for gay and transgender people. This is a clear consensus: the people of Michigan support non-discrimination protections for gay and transgender people. It’s time our state legislature takes action to amend the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include these critical protections.”
-Jon Hoadley, Unity Michigan

Making the case for non-discrimination protections

The Center for American Progress, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Williams Institute have released a joint project: a document compiling the comprehensive research and analysis on federal workplace non-discrimination protections. It is a massive undertaking with a substantial body of resources.

Additional groups providing research to the document include: the ACLU, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Check out the full document here.

Resource: U.S. Office of Personel Management

The U.S. Office of Personal Management has published: Guidance Regarding the Employment of Transgender Individuals in the Federal Workplace. This resource includes education around core concepts relating to transgender people, and spells out best practices for employers with transgender employees.

It is the policy of the Federal Government to treat all of its employees with dignity and respect and to provide a workplace that is free from discrimination whether that discrimination is based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity or pregnancy), national origin, disability, political affiliation, marital status, membership in an employee organization, age, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors. Agencies should review their anti-discrimination policies to ensure that they afford a non-discriminatory working environment to employees irrespective of their gender identity or perceived gender non-conformity.

For more, please visit their guide here.

New Resource: Making workplaces more fair & equal for transgender employees

Yesterday, the Human Rights Campaign’s Workplace Project released an important new resource: Transgender-Inclusive Health Care Coverage and the Corporate Equality Index.

The comprehensive resource includes information for employers on transgender-inclusive health care coverage: FAQs, case studies, terminology, and concrete steps to making health care accessible and inclusive.

Read highlights from the report here, and download  a copy of the full report at this link.



Williams Institute Report: Non-Discrimination Ordinances

The Williams Institute studied cities across the country that protect gay and transgender residents from discrimination. What did they find? ”In short, it’s business as usual after a locality has decided to add these protections for LGBT people.”

By enacting non-discrimination ordinances, cities protect thousands of workers without burdening governments or businesses, the study finds. Read the press release and full report here.