credibility, acceptance, or respect by co-workers and supervisors based on a workers’ sexual orientation. Formal discrimination was typically found to be in association with employer decisions to terminate or not hire an individual due to their sexual orientation (Croteau, 1996). The author also noted other findings of formal discrimination including the exclusion of homosexuals from promotions, pay raises, or increased responsibility at their jobs.
Fear of having one’s sexual orientation discovered is predictive of how an individual chooses to present his or her sexual orientation identity in the work environment (Croteau, 1996). This finding may be of significance to this inquiry because supporters of nondiscrimination policies that protect gays and lesbians in the workplace often claim such guidelines create equity and fairness (Economist, 1995), which could help alleviate fears of possible discrimination and anti-gay retaliation for homosexuals who choose not to hide their sexual identity at work.
Anticipation of discrimination, especially if an individual’s sexual orientation is disclosed or discovered, is of great concern to gay and lesbian workers (Croteau, 1996). Individuals have reported that they believed that discrimination would occur if their sexual orientation was discovered by management; research has indicated that this fear or anticipation of discrimination is the major factor in workers hiding lesbian, gay, or bisexual identities (Croteau, 1996).