201907.05

#LGBT #Inclusivity #Pride2019 #LGBT&SexualHarassment

What is Pride

#LGBT stands for #Lesbian, #Gay, #Bisexual and #Transexual and is used as a reference to the community comprising of these individuals.

Preparations are underway for Pride 2019 in London this Saturday which marks the end of a month long celebration to recognise the impact that the LGBT community have had in the world. Whilst there has been a marked improvement in the legal rights of LGBT people, society as a whole and very often specifically the workplace still struggle to ensure that this comparatively minority group are treated equally.

Statistics

Recent research by the Trade Union Congress (“TUC”) revealed that almost 68% of LGBT people reported being discriminated against at work. The research was carried out as part of a campaign by many organisations urging the government to bring in new laws to make employers responsible for protecting their staff from sexual harassment at work.

Sexual orientation and gender reassignment are protected characteristics under The Equality Act 2010 and this makes the statistics of unlawful behaviour even more staggering when so much is being done to promote #inclusivity.

@Work

The discrimination includes harassment, often in the form of colleagues making inappropriate comments, and unwelcome sexual advances.

The meaning of ‘Harassment’ under the Equality Act 2010, is unwanted conduct that has the purpose of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating or hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person. It is noteworthy to mention that under the Act it does not matter if the conduct was unintended.

LGBT victims rarely report such behaviour for fear of the consequences, such as being ‘outed’ at work, dismissed or victimised in another way.

The legal bit

(i) Discrimination by association

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender reassignment. It also prohibits discrimination against someone because of the sexual orientation of someone they are with (their partner / spouse), or because of someone they know (friend / family member). This is known as discrimination by association.

(ii) Discrimination by perception

Another head of discrimination that is less known is that it is also unlawful to discriminate against someone because they are thought to be of a particular sexual orientation. This is known as discrimination by perception.

Employer Do’s

Employers can take more steps towards #inclusivity and encouraging diversity in the workplace no matter how small or large the business.

Training and monitoring can educate individuals and make it clear what is expected of them as well as clearly setting out what type of behaviour is deemed unacceptable.

Bespoke policies and procedures can provide the necessary information including the terminology’ which is commonly used by the communities in which the individuals belong, which will ensure increased understanding and sensitivity amongst peers.

Whilst general Equality and Diversity Policies address equality in the workplace irrespective of sexual orientation, #trans people are rarely referred to; possibly due to the limited exposure to such issues in the workplace. This is also something that needs to be addressed.

Making sure that staff members are aware of any informal complaints and formal grievance procedures are accessible to employees so that they know that in the event of an incident there is a procedure that they can follow to highlight the same.

Where there are events marking recognition of minority communities, employers can acknowledge them by being involved or giving some recognition and support.

A long way to go

It is a complex area of law with multiple perspectives on the same issues dependant on how the individuals categorise themselves, if at all within the meaning of #LGBT. Although there is a long way to go before prejudices and discriminatory behaviour towards the #LGBT community becomes a thing of the past. Taking the first step to addressing and preventing any discrimination in your business will help to pave a way for a happier inclusive future both in the community and the workplace.

For further advice on policies and procedures or managing issues in the workplace such as complaints of discrimination please contact Kaajal Nathwani on 020 8363 4444 or kaajal.nathwani@curwens.co.uk.