With Pride Cymru on the 24th of August, it is important to focus on the LGBT+ equality and whether the LGBT community are treated fairly in the workplace. It is also important to look at how employers can promote further equality and diversity in the workplace.
• A survey of 4,000 workers across the UK – including those who identified as being heterosexual, gay, bisexual or ‘other’ – revealed that LGBT+ workers earned on average 16 per cent less than straight workers, equivalent to £6,703 annually before tax.
• More than a third of LGBT staff (35%) have hidden their sexuality at work for fear of discrimination.
• Findings disclose that many LGBT staff do not feel comfortable enough to reveal their full identity and those that do often face bullying and discrimination.
• Incidents ranging from offensive language to being outed at work without their consent.
• Six times as many trans people report being physically attacked at work than those not trans.
• Almost 1 in 5 LGBT people (18%) who were looking for work said they were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity whilst trying to get a job in the last year.
• The transgender unemployment rate is 3 times higher than the national average.
For your organisation to become more inclusive, it is important that there are zero tolerance policies on homophobic, biphobia and transphobic comments and discrimination or harassment, with clear sanctions for staff and customers. A good Equality and Diversity Policy will ensure that LGBT people are not discriminated against. Other policies include pensions, family and leave policies, health insurance and relocation allowances. You should make sure your policies explicitly mention LGBT people.
Getting people involved across your organisation is important in promoting LGBT rights. This could include setting up a network group specifically for LGBT employees; they’ll help you know where you’re doing well, and which areas may need a new approach. Engaging staff members who don’t identify as LGBT is also important in promoting fairness and equality Allies, as the LGBT community call them, are a crucial element of ensuring inclusion for all. They can help spread the message that diversity is celebrated by your organisation.
Getting workers involved in the promotion of LGBT rights and updating your policies to be more inclusive involves a clear strategy and tactics. It’s crucial to know where you want to be and how you’re going to get there. Understand your staff and getting to know their make-up through techniques such as monitoring will help ensure you effectively cater to any needs they may have.
A way to promote LGBT+ rights into the workplace is to build diversity concepts and practices into staff training courses. Line management training and teambuilding programmes will increase awareness of the need to handle different views, perceptions and ideas in positive ways.
Including diversity issues into induction programmes can also be important in order to make employees aware at the start of their employment, the companies views on Equality and Diversity.
People perform better when they can be themselves, over time more employers are realising that in order to be successful, their staff need to feel confident in themselves at work. To do so, there needs to be more of an emphasis on equality for all employees through strategies like inclusion training and LGBT+ awareness training. There also needs to be more clarity on the company’s stance regarding discriminatory acts in the workplace, many have taken steps to reduce Homophobic, Biphobia and Transphobic bullying by creating and enforcing clear policies.
Article By Sophie Jenkins