Here’s an interesting and very recently published study on workplace discrimination faced by bisexuals. The authors of Employment Discrimination Against Bisexuals: An Empirical Study (and the whole thing can be downloaded from the William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law), describe it as “the first published quantitative study to focus comprehensively on bisexuals’ experiences with employment discrimination.”1
They surveyed bisexual individuals and found that although they experienced significant levels of employment discrimination, very few of them had sought any kind of relief, and none had sought relief in the court. The study then examined the likely reasons for bisexual invisibility in case law and bisexuals’ apparent reluctance to sue for discrimination in the workplace.
They found that the ways laws are implemented, and the practices of individual lawyers and judges, contribute to the absence of bisexuals from the legal record.
The survey revealed that half of bisexuals had experienced employment discrimination at some point in their lives. The most common types of discrimination reported were (in descending percentage order): inappropriate jokes or insults at work, verbal sexual harassment, unfair access to fringe benefits, verbal harassment based on gender expression, verbal harassment based on sexual identity, and threats or verbal abuse. Some of the respondents also reported having experienced excessive supervision, different or harsher standards of performance, discriminatory questions or comments during job interviews, and inappropriate questions or statements on job applications.
Additionally, some individuals reported being hypersexualized (that common bisexual stereotype!) at work. For example, one woman “was asked by her co-worker in a law firm about her interest in threesomes and public sex after he learned about her bisexuality from the Internet.”
The study provides detailed quantitative data about the frequency of these incidents, as well as discussion of how individuals dealt with it and the decisions of some not to report. It provides some food for thought about the importance of understanding the severity of the impact that perceptions of bisexuality can have on individuals.
- Tweedy, Ann E. and Yescavage, Karen. Employment Discrimination Against Bisexuals: An Empirical Study, 21 Wm. & Mary J. Women & L. 699 (2015). Web. ↩