Infographic: Workplace discrimination is wrong and bad for business

In light of today’s hearing on Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), it’s worth addressing the argument made by ENDA critics that protecting civil rights is just too gosh-darn expensive and will lead to all sorts of frivolous law suits. One, that’s a pretty indefensible argument, even if ENDA did cost money. Two, discriminating against people based on their sexuality and identification is pretty expensive as this Center for American Progress infographic illustrates. So, ENDA critics, don’t hide behind economic arguments. Just embrace your inner bigot.

Click here for larger size.


Born and raised on the mean streets of New York City’s Upper West Side, Katie Halper is a comic, writer, blogger, satirist and filmmaker based in New York. Katie graduated from The Dalton School (where she teaches history) and Wesleyan University (where she learned that labels are for jars.) A director of Living Liberally and co-founder/performer in Laughing Liberally, Katie has performed at Town Hall, Symphony Space, The Culture Project, D.C. Comedy Festival, all five Netroots Nations, and The Nation Magazine Cruise, where she made Howard Dean laugh! and has appeared with Lizz Winstead, Markos Moulitsas, The Yes Men, Cynthia Nixon and Jim Hightower. Her writing and videos have appeared in The New York Times, Comedy Central, The Nation Magazine, Gawker, Nerve, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, Alternet and Katie has been featured in/on NY Magazine, LA Times, In These Times, Gawker,Jezebel, MSNBC, Air America, GritTV, the Alan Colmes Show, Sirius radio (which hung up on her once) and the National Review, which called Katie “cute and some what brainy.” Katie co-produced Tim Robbins’s film Embedded, (Venice Film Festival, Sundance Channel); Estela Bravo’s Free to Fly (Havana Film Festival, LA Latino Film Festival); was outreach director for The Take, Naomi Klein/Avi Lewis documentary about Argentine workers (Toronto & Venice Film Festivals, Film Forum); co-directed New Yorkers Remember the Spanish Civil War, a video for Museum of the City of NY exhibit, and wrote/directed viral satiric videos including Jews/ Women/ Gays for McCain.

Katie is a writer, comedian, filmmaker, and New Yorker.

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  • Robert

    If discrimination is bad for business then why does it keep happening? Is the article implying that businesses are discriminating purposely so they can make less profit? According to this logic, the most profitable companies will have no discrimination and the least profitable will have the most discrimination. This is obviously not true, just look at republican-run business that make tons of money. I support equal rights but discrimination is irrelevant to business profits. Employers will hire who is best for the bottom line, sometimes that will discriminate against certain people. A pro rights group will probably want to hire a gay leader. A baseball team scouting in Central America will probably hire a latino scout. A celebrity will probably hire tall muscular body guards. A wife will probably hire an attractive woman to find out if her husband will cheat. Etc,

    • Sam Lindsay-Levine

      If discrimination is bad for business then why does it keep happening?

      Two very simple theoretical reasons: 1) the Principal-agent problem, where the interests of (e.g.) a manager and the greater company do not align (e.g., the manager wants to sexually harass or discriminate and does not personally pay the loss of profits that the company suffers) 2) the breakdown of the (by now empirically shown to be fairly inaccurate) assumption that all people make economically rational decisions at all times.

      According to this logic, the most profitable companies will have no discrimination and the least profitable will have the most discrimination.

      This does not logically follow. If you are an engineer, making a vehicle you are designing lighter will make it faster; but the fastest vehicle in the world is not the lightest, nor the slowest the heaviest.

      • Robert

        If a manager was hurting business by discriminating he would be removed. UNLESS discrimination doesn’t really hurt the bottom line. There is plenty of discrimination in the work place, I don’t doubt that at all. I question whether that always affects business though. I know sexist construction workers that have an “old boys network” thing going on and they always get huge contracts in San Diego. Female discrimination obviously isn’t affecting their profits. If it did, they would change their ways. You are right Sam, people don’t make economically rational decisions all the time… businesses usually do, this is how they become a top business in the first place. This article sounds like it’s desperately trying to tie discrimination to loss of profits in order to get people equal treatment. Good goal but questionable data.