To “B” or not to “B”: Assessing the disclosure dilemma of bisexual individuals at work


Despite a recent push toward understanding and advocating for LGB employees in the workplace, the unique experiences of bisexual individuals have received little attention in scholarly and organizational contexts. In this manuscript, we attempt to address this by providing novel empirical data from two studies that assess the experience of disclosing bisexuality in a workplace context from multiple perspectives –bisexual employees themselves, as well as non-bisexual (i.e., heterosexual, gay, lesbian) individuals. Taken together, we found evidence suggesting bisexual employees are less likely to disclose their sexual orientation at work as compared to gay and lesbian employees. In addition, our findings indicate that heterosexual, gay, and lesbian individuals hold negative views about bisexuality, which we argue may in part explain bisexual employees' stronger hesitation to disclose their identities at work as compared to gay and lesbian employees. Finally, we found in a vignette-based study that bisexual applicants who disclosed their sexual identities in a job application incurred substantial job-related penalties as compared to gay applicants. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of our findings and provide insight into several promising directions for future research.

Publication Title

Journal of Vocational Behavior