Sex Roles [sers] pp752-sers-460545 February 6, 2003 2:26 Style ﬁle version June 3rd, 2002
Sex Roles, Vol. 48, Nos. 3/4, February 2003 (
Antecedents and Potential Moderators of the Relationship
Between Attitudes and Hiring Discrimination on the Basis
of Sexual Orientation
and Ann Marie Ryan
A sample of 236 undergraduates (most of whom were White women) rated resumes in which
gender, masculinity/femininity, and sexual orientation were manipulated while qualiﬁcations
were kept constant. Overall, participants rated lesbian and gay male applicants less positively
than heterosexual male applicants, but more positively than heterosexual women. Religiosity,
beliefs in traditional gender roles, beliefs in the controllability of homosexuality, and previous
contact with lesbians and gay men were related to attitudes toward lesbians and gay men,
which was in turn related to beliefs about employing them. Several factors were hypothesized
to moderate the relationship between beliefs about employing lesbians and gay men and dis-
crimination, although the expected relationships were not found. Implications and directions
for future research are discussed.
KEY WORDS: sexual orientation; discrimination; hiring practices.
Discrimination against lesbians and gay men in
the workplace may have adverse effects on those
individuals through factors such as increased stress
and limited advancement opportunities. Discrimina-
tion may also have adverse effects on the organi-
zation. Even though protection from discrimination
on the basis of sexual orientation is not provided by
current federal legislation, many state and local gov-
ernments do include sexual orientation in their lists
of protected characteristics (National Gay and Les-
bian Task Force [NGLTF], 2001; Riccucci & Gossett,
1996; Segal, 1995). As of August 2001, 12 states, as
well as the District of Columbia, had laws banning
discrimination based on sexual orientation (NGLTF,
An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2002
Academy of Management Conference, Denver, CO.
Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina.
Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at Department
of Psychology, Clemson University, 418 Brackett Hall, Clemson,
South Carolina 29634; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This study initiates experimental research on se-
lection, or hiring, discrimination on the basis of sexual
orientation. Although there is research on discrimina-
tion and heterosexism from the perspective of the les-
bian or gay employee (e.g., Croteau & VonDestinon,
1994; Waldo, 1999), no previously published exper-
imental research has been conducted explicitly to
study the predictors of hiring discrimination toward
this group from the perspective of the discriminator.
The psychological literature on attitudes toward ho-
mosexuality was used to formulate a model that pre-
dicts sexual orientation discrimination in the hiring
process. Our model (see Fig. 1) proposes that a vari-
ety of antecedent factors are related to general atti-
tudes toward lesbians and gay men, which in turn are
related to speciﬁc beliefs about employing lesbians
and gay men, which are related to hiring discrimina-
tion against lesbians and gay men, as moderated by
Although our theoretical model is comprehen-
sive, in the present study it will be tested in two
almost distinct parts. First, we test a model of an-
tecedents of attitudes toward lesbians and gay men.
Then, we explore in different analyses the relationship
2003 Plenum Publishing Corporation