Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 29–44

Beyond the Legal Environment: How Stigma Influences Invisible Identity Groups in the Workplace


DOI: 10.1007/s10672-005-9003-6

Cite this article as:
Beatty, J.E. & Kirby, S.L. Employ Respons Rights J (2006) 18: 29. doi:10.1007/s10672-005-9003-6

Diversity research assumes that social interaction is influenced by a social categorization that arises from visible and readily detectable differences. How does this process work when the differences are not readily detectable? We explore the legal protections that shape the employment environment for people with invisible identities and how invisibility influences the common social dimensions of stigma these individuals experience. These social dimensions are resistant to change and therefore change occurs slowly: stigma cannot simply be legislated away. On the basis of our comparisons of social identity groups with invisible characteristics we discuss four dimensions that are especially relevant for understanding the social dynamics of invisible diversities.


gay and lesbian identitystigmainvisible diversitylegal protections

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Management StudiesUniversity of Michigan–DearbornDearbornU.S.
  2. 2.Department of ManagementTexas State UniversitySan MarcosU.S.
  3. 3.Management StudiesUniversity of Michigan--DearbornDearbornU.S.