NEW JERSEY
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LGBT+ Business Climate Score

Out Leadership’s Business Climate Index for the 50 United States is an assessment of states’ performance on LGBT+ inclusion. It measures the impact government policies and prevalent attitudes have on the LGBT+ people residing in each state, quantifying the economic imperatives for inclusion and the costs of discrimination. It equips business leaders and policymakers with a clear sense of the most impactful steps states can take to make themselves more hospitable to forward-thinking, innovative, inclusive businesses.

82

out of a possible 100 points

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Legal & Nondiscrimination Protection

New Jersey has comprehensive nondiscrimination laws inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity. New Jersey will issue updated birth certificates reflecting a gender of female, male, or undesignated/non-binary, upon receipt of a form signed by the applicant. No medical documentation is required. Changing a gender marker on a driver’s license requires a form signed by a licensed provider.

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Youth & Family Support

The state bans conversion therapy. State law prevents discrimination against and bullying of LGBT+ students. It is illegal to discriminate against foster families on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and adoption laws ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. New Jersey adopted a paid Family Leave/Sick Leave law inclusive of LGBT+ families in 2019.

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Political & Religious Attitudes

The state’s Governor and U.S. Senators are leaders in championing LGBT+ rights in both voting records and public statements. The state does not have a “religious freedom” law.

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Health Access & Safety

New Jersey has comprehensive hate crimes protections inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity. The state mandates transgender healthcare coverage for all insurance. The state criminalizes knowingly exposing someone to HIV without their consent as a felony.

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Work Environment & Employment

9% of transgender employees in New Jersey report being harassed in the past year due to their gender identity, and 18% report mistreatment such as being forced to use a restroom not matching gender. 22% of LGBT+ New Jerseyans report food insecurity, compared to 13% of non-LGBT+ New Jerseyans. LGBT+ unemployment (more than 8%) is just slightly above the general rate (7%).

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A Note on Methodology

Download this report to learn how and why Out Leadership created the LGBT+ Business Climate Index for the 50 U.S. States, with important details about our methodology, including our data standards and practices.

Our Methodology
Talking Points
  • New Jersey’s comprehensive nondiscrimination law protects LGBT+ people, so the state is already experiencing the positive economic impacts of such policies. One estimate suggests that the state's economy may have grown 3%, or $18 billion, thanks to its inclusive approach. That said, there's still a gap between policy and culture, and organizations in New Jersey have a business imperative to ensure that LGBT+ people feel welcome in their workplaces.
  • 4.1% of New Jersey residents identify as LGBT+. Conservatively, that's LGBT+ personal income of $24.7 billion – it’s a market my business can’t afford to ignore.
  • When LGBT+ employees don't feel welcome at work, they're less likely to stay, and employee turnover is a drag on the state economy and business competitiveness. It costs companies an average of $11,394 to replace an employee in New Jersey, and it can cost up to $497,000 to replace senior executives. New Jersey and the businesses operating there have strong incentives to create inclusive workplaces in the interest of keeping these costs down.
  • Millennial and Gen Z consumers prefer to do business with companies with LGBT+ friendly advertising and policies – 54% say they’re more likely to choose an LGBT+ inclusive brand over a competitor – which is why it’s important that New Jersey continue to foster a business environment where being inclusive is supported.
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Impact of LGBT+ Discrimination on Business and Talent
  • 1
    No Risk
  • 2
    Low Risk
  • 3
    Moderate Risk
  • 4
    Notable Risk
  • 5
    High Risk

For more context around these scores, and to learn more about the criteria we used to assess how state laws, actions and attitudes toward LGBT+ people create business and talent risks, please visit www.outleadership.com/staterisk.

BRAND RISK
  • 1
    No Risk
Companies incur no brand risk by doing business in New Jersey, which has comprehensive laws protecting LGBT+ people and a corresponding great reputation.
CLIENT RISK
  • 1
    No Risk
There’s no reason to believe that LGBT+ or strong ally clients would pull business from companies operating in New Jersey, which has recently helped lead the way on LGBT+ inclusion.
TALENT RISK
  • 1
    No Risk
New Jersey has comprehensive nondiscrimination laws and protections, making it a state top LGBT+ talent would prioritize.
MARKETING RISK
  • 1
    No Risk
There’s no risk in marketing to the LGBT+ community in New Jersey.
FUTURE RISK
  • 1
    No Risk
New Jersey has a very limited recent history of negative bills filed, and we would not expect that to change in the foreseeable future. We assess this state as currently having no risk of a negative, headline-making event.
Socio-cultural Environment of LGBT+ People:

Socio-cultural Environment of LGBT+ people 

Status of LGBT+ Organizing and Community

  • – The new law allowing trans people to change gender markers without surgery was named after Babs Siperstein, the first trans person to become a DNC member. She died days after the law was passed.
  • – Last fall, the state decided that trans students determine their own gender identity, and it’s not mandatory to inform their parents. The state Department of Education made the rule after the Trump administration walked back a national version from the Obama presidency.
  • – Jersey Pride is entering its 28th In 2018, the event attracted 20,000 people.

Cultural Views of the LGBT+ Community

  • – The Department of Children and Families, which oversees adoption in New Jersey, is the first state child welfare agency in the US to earn the Seal of Recognition from the Human Rights Campaign’s All Children – All Families project. This project is an initiative of the Human Rights Campaign’s Family Project intended to increase the number of prospective adoptive parents by recruiting members of the LGBT+ community. The program’s benchmarks include a non-discrimination policy that bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity; use of inclusive LGBT+ language, employee training to work with LGBT+ families and individuals and placements of children with LGBT+ adoptive parents.
  • – The state’s conversion therapy ban was challenged on First Amendment grounds, but the US Supreme Court declined to take it up. In February 2019, the ban was challenged again when Liberty Counsel petitioned the US Supreme Court to overturn it, again on First Amendment grounds.