What the LGBT Action Plan Means for Employers

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10 Jul 2018

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On 2 July 2018, the government published the results of a survey on LGBT experiences throughout the UK. This included the experiences of LGBT people in the workplace. Following these results, an action plan was published, detailing how the lives of LGBT people can be improved at home, on the street, in education, and in the workplace.

What did the survey tell us?

The survey told us a number of things about the experience of LGBT people in the workplace. 19% of respondents had not been open about their sexual orientation or gender identity with any colleagues. A further 30% had not been open with their senior colleagues, and more than half had not been open with customers/clients. Of those surveyed, 23% had experienced negative reactions from others in the workplace, while 9% received verbal harassment. When asked about the most serious incident they had experienced, 21% claimed it was their line manager or supervisor who had been responsible for the incident. The vast majority of respondents stated that the most serious incidents they experienced were not reported, as they believed it wouldn’t change anything. 11% of respondents had their sexual orientation or gender identity disclosed to another member of staff without permission. One testimonial by a respondent suggests there is discrimination against trans people, stating that they had applied for 30+ jobs announcing their trans status and heard nothing back, then did the same again with similar positions but withheld their gender identity and got several interviews.

How will the action plan affect the workplace?

The government has made a commitment to provide employers with free training materials to support inclusion of LGBT individuals in the workplace. This package will be developed by the equalities office and will be adaptable to your workplace. Acas and the Government Equalities Office have committed to ensure that LGBT harassment is included in sexual harassment policies. There is already legislation in place to ensure LGBT employees don’t face discrimination in the workplace (most significantly the Equality Act 2010). Although it is unlikely the action plan will constitute a change in legislation or introduction of new legislation, it is better to be safe and review your policies to check if they are compliant. Finally, the government has committed to investigate the experiences of LGBT staff in different sectors and different types of workplace, as well as review and strengthen how bullying, harassment, and misconduct is tackled. See the full survey report, here See the full action plan, here

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