Study: Stopping workplace discrimination spurs innovation

On Behalf of | Aug 19, 2016 | Employment Law

Apple CEO Tim Cook once told the U.S. Congress that adoption of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was not only the right thing to do, but it would also foster and spur the creativity that drives his business. ENDA would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

As you know, Wisconsin’s Fair Employment Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but does not extend protections against discrimination on the basis of gender identity. The law also prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, disability, race, pregnancy, military service, national origin, color, marital status and gender.

It turns out that there is now research supporting Cook’s contention that ENDA fosters creativity. A study recently published in Management Science examines patent data from 1976 to 2008.

Researchers tried to determine if firms headquartered in the 22 states with ENDA-type legislation file for more patents than those in states without the workplace discrimination protections.

Researchers say they “found that the adoption of ENDAs led to a significant increase in innovation output.” On average, firms in states with ENDAs had an 8 percent increase in patents filed and an 11 percent increase in patent citations over firms headquartered in states without ENDAs.

Researchers controlled for factors such as state-specific factors such as GDP, population and education levels. They also controlled for company characteristics such as firm size, profitability and growth potential.

Why the significant difference between states with and without ENDAs? The study indicates that states with the laws in place are more likely to attract younger, better educated applicants who come from more diverse backgrounds and are more willing to take risks in their work.

The law offices of Alan C. Olson & Associates, s.c., can help you fight to protect your workplace rights. Contact us to discuss your situation and our vast and varied experience in employment law litigation.


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