Posted by: outandequal | November 11, 2011

Job Discrimination & Unemployment Benefits for Veterans

Pat Baillie, Associate Director of Training

by Pat Baillie | Now that LGB veterans can be counted as part of the workplace, we can begin to see a disturbing trend regarding unemployment.

According to an article today in Bloomberg Businessweek, veterans face a rate of unemployment that was 12.1 percent in October, vs. 9 percent for the U.S. overall.  Digging deeper into the statistics, the report says “The youngest of veterans, aged 18 to 24, had a 30.4 percent jobless rate in October, way up from 18.4 percent a year earlier. Non-veterans of the same age improved, to 15.3 percent from 16.9 percent. For some groups, the numbers can look a good deal worse: for black veterans aged 18-24, the unemployment rate is a striking 48 percent.”  If you are a disabled vet, these numbers are even higher.

How does the job market impact LGBT veterans?

Over the last few years, The Williams Institute has identified discrimination and harassment on the job to be near 40% for LGBT employees in general.  Job loss also occurs at a 7.1%, and high rates of unemployment and incomes below the national average are faced by transgender employees.  We also know that there is a wage gap between heterosexual white men and the rest of the employee pool.  When you take this data into account, and add an LGBT veteran into the job search pool, the prospects are low.

There are programs growing on the national level such as Joining Forces, an initiative launched by the first lady and the vice president’s wife, Jill Biden, to encourage citizens, businesses, nonprofits and community groups to do more to support military families and create jobs for veterans.  This might be an excellent opportunity for the LGBTA ERGs to work closely with their HR and D&I office to encourage the hiring of veterans, including those who are LGBT.  This Veteran’s Day is a time to say thanks but it is also a time to leverage our positions to provide opportunities for veterans in the workplace.

Pat Baillie
Associate Director, Training & Professional Development

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