A US lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) legal organisation has announced the results of the largest nationwide survey of the gay community.

Lambda Legal conducted a workplace fairness survey of the LGBT community in the first ever attempt to ask how important gay-friendly policies are to where gay people decide to work.

Kevin Cathcart, executive director at Lambda Legal, said: “The results of this survey are critically important for employers across America.

“Even though more and more employers have enacted gay-friendly policies because they know it is good business, many employees are still without protection and experience antigay harassment and discrimination at work.”

The research was administered online through an invitation to Lambda Legal’s nationwide online membership between September 22 and November 4, 2005. The survey had 1,205 responses.

Among the findings:

Over half of the respondents (54%) said that gay friendly non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies were ‘critical’ to their decision about where they decide to work.

An additional 38 per cent reported that gay friendly policies were appreciated and contributed to their happiness while 39 per cent of respondents reported experiencing some form of antigay discrimination or harassment in the workplace.

It was also found that 19 per cent of respondents reported barriers in promotion because of their sexual orientation.

“This is a wake up call for employers around the country, without commitments to fairness and equality for all employees they risk losing talented employees and job candidates,” Mr Cathcart said.

There is no federal law that bars discrimination against employees based on their sexual orientation and only 18 states in addition to DC have legal protections for these employees.