Study: Gay men earn less, lesbians earn more than their heterosexual counterparts
- Studies have been released on an often-overlooked segment of pay inequality – the sexuality pay gap, says Quartz. Looking back at a 1995 study published by the Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Quartz says gay and bisexual men earned between 11% and 27% less than heterosexual men, even after considering education, experience, occupation, marital status and other variables.
- A 2015 study by Marieka Klawitter, University of Washington professor of public policy and governance, showed a slight closing in the sexuality pay gap. She found that, on average, gay men earned 11% less overall than heterosexual men. Klawitter also found that lesbians generally earned 9% more than heterosexual women, in what scientists call the “lesbian premium.”
- However, in other studies, lesbians earned as much as 25% less or 43% more than heterosexual women. Some researchers believe lesbians earn more than heterosexual women because they tend not to leave the workplace to raise children and may enter into higher paying professions in such areas as science and engineering more often.
Pay gaps based on race, gender and sexuality – even when education, experience, avocation, performance and other variables are accounted for – is unacceptable in the workplace. HR can review average pay ranges for jobs in the region, factor in variables, meet with managers to gauge whether wages are equitable across the board and call out any disparities.
Employers with progressive policies on pay equality can help close the sexuality pay gap. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission allows employees who feel discriminated against because of their sexual preference to file sexual discrimination claims under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. These claims aren’t binding, as most court precedent is currently not in favor of the EEOC's delineation, but enough suits and court decisions favoring plaintiffs could lead to changes in the law.