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Take PRIDE in your workforce

 

June is Pride Month and it usually means weeks of rainbow-drenched parades, concerts and festivals (however, in order to respect social distancing rules, most events will be organised online this year) – but in 2020, why is Pride still so vitally important to celebrate??

Although homosexual acts are no longer punishable by hanging (since 1861) nor are they criminal offences (since 1967) and whilst it is very important to appreciate how far the UK has come on LGBT rights, many significant challenges remain.

 

WHY should your business support LGBTQA+ employees?

 

To prevent discrimination

Sexual orientation and Gender Reassignment are both protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. This means that LGBTQA+ staff are protected against discrimination and should not be subject to unfavourable treatment nor harassed in the workplace.

However, research conducted by Stonewall found that 34% of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the UK choose not to disclose their sexuality at work. According to GLAAD, “more than 40% of LGBTQA+  people have experienced employment discrimination, harassment or mistreatment.”

Preventing discrimination in your business is crucial to lowering the risks of Employment Tribunal claims. Indeed, employers can be legally liable for the conduct of their staff; for example if an employee used homophobic “banter” against a LGBTQA+ colleague.

To build sustainable and profitable business

In this modern age of digital advertising, social media and other ultra-fast communication tools, news travels fast.

According to the Harvard Business Review, businesses that have a track record of giving equal opportunities for promotion and development have a better reputation and attract better people. Furthermore, an empirical study conducted by Pérotin and Robinson found evidence that equal opportunities policies improve productivity.

Forward thinking inclusive businesses are perceived as delivering  more value, which will attract new customers all of which adds up to better performance and profitability Having a keen focus on developing a truly diverse, inclusive culture is a sure path to long term business success.

 

HOW should your business protect LGBTQA+ employees?

 

It is crucial that all staff are aware (and occasionally reminded) of your business’ Harassment policies and Equal Treatment
policies.

Organisations are encouraged to have an open and honest workplace culture where employees can be themselves, feel supported and listened to, should any discrimination take place. They should be advised to speak to their managers first and try to sort out the matter informally as per your business’ Grievance policy. They also should be made aware that, if the issue is not resolved, they are positively encouraged to raise a formal complaint.

Given that a large proportion of employees can be expected  to skim policies as quickly as they would a magazine, training can help to ensure that they understand what’s in those policies, why LGTBQA rights are important in your company, and what their responsibilities are.

And don’t forget how feedback is to continuously informing and improving your businesses focus on ensuring LGBTQA+ protection and promotion.  Conducting exit interviews with a strong emphasis on all employees’ experience of diversity within your business can be is crucial. Encouraging a ‘no holding back’ approach to exit feedback will give you a good steer on where you need to make changes to benefit your diversity goals.

If you have any concerns or would like an expert opinion on how your business could do more to support diversity and inclusion in the workplace our LexLeyton specialist employment lawyers are happy to help with a no obligation free consultation

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