Work with Pride: Celebrating Inclusion 2024

June 27, 2024

Each June, people around the world come together to celebrate Pride Month in honour of the LGBTQIA+ community. Although the annual celebrations should be at the forefront of the agenda, it’s also important to use this period to reflect on the history of LGBTQIA+ issues and raise awareness about important topics, including further progress that needs to be made in the advancement of LGBTQIA+ rights and equality.

According to research by Ranstad UK, almost half of LGBTQIA+ workers have experienced discrimination or prejudice at work because of their sexuality or gender identity. The same survey found that 41% of respondents were concerned about discrimination impacting their career progression, and 38% of respondents believe that their remuneration is already impacted by prejudice. It’s no surprise then, that earlier this year, a report by WorkL found that those in the LGBTQIA+ community have significantly lower wellbeing at work than their peers.

UK Legislation: LGBTQIA+

The Equality Act 2010 is the key piece of legislation that protects the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community in the workplace. It outlaws discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender reassignment status (protected characteristics). Under UK law there are four types of discrimination that could occur:

·   Direct discrimination – where a worker is treated differently or worse than a peer due to a protected characteristic.  

·   Indirect discrimination – where an employer puts a practice in place that disadvantages those with a protected characteristic.

·   Harassment – where a worker experiences unwelcome and negative verbal or physical behaviour based on their protected characteristic.

·   Victimisation – where a worker becomes a victim of harmful behaviour because they have, or are suspected to have, a protected characteristic, or because they have made or supported a complaint related to discrimination or harassment.

Inclusive Workplaces: LGBTQIA+

Creating an inclusive workplace relies on a firm commitment to inclusion from employers which starts right at the top of the organisation. This is often presented through the use of an Inclusion and Diversity Policy. But, like with many HR practices, it’s not enough to just write a policy for the sake of ticking a box! A workplace needs to live and breathe those policies and embed them into the company values so as to foster a genuinely inclusive and supportive environment.

As an absolute minimum, employers need to ensure they:

·   Communicate and uphold a zero-tolerance attitude to bullying, harassment and discrimination.

·   Provide clear channels for employees to report inappropriate behaviour at any level of the organisation.

·   Implement training for line managers so that they are better equipped to support colleagues in the LGBTQIA+ community, and have the skills to implement practices fairly and consistently.

·   Take steps to remove bias from decision-making i.e. in the recruitment and selection process.

·   Operate fair and transparent performance management, promotion and development exercises.

·   Shift to the use of gender-neutral terms.

What’s next for LGBTQIA+ rights?

Just as Pride Month ends, we’re heading into a general election, where gender-affirming care, conversion therapy and single-sex spaces have been some of the key topics of the political manifestos and discourse.

Over 1.5 million people identify as LGBTQIA+ in the UK. Regardless of the winning party next week, we can expect to see legislative changes implemented during this next term of Government that will impact the LGBTQIA+ community – hopefully to create a safer and more inclusive future. We will be sure to keep you updated on any changes as they are announced.

If you need help staying on top of employment rights or implementing inclusive practices, please get in touch!

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