1 in 5 workplaces still lack LGBT support policies

A new study reveals that companies are still failing to support their LGBTQ+ workers

All companies have good intentions when it comes to diversity and inclusion. However, one in five workplaces still does not have policies to support LGBT staff at work, according to a new survey by the Trades Union Congress (TUC). Where they have one, only one in three (34%) companies with an LGBT policy have updated it in the last 12 months. 

When it comes to bullying and harassment, only half (51%) of managers surveyed told the TUC that they have a policy prohibiting discrimination, bullying and harassment against LGBT workers in their workplace. 

The lack of support is evident, and less than half (47%) reported having a clear reporting route for workers to raise concerns about discrimination, bullying and harassment against LGBT workers, even though one in seven managers (15%) had responded to instances of bullying, harassment or discrimination against one or more LGBT workers. 

Regarding transgender workers, only 25% of managers reported having a policy to support transgender (including non-binary) workers who wish to change their gender. 

The LGBT pay gap 

Discrimination also occurs when it comes to gender pay. The most recent research indicates a 16% pay gap for LGBT people, meaning that LGBT workers are effectively paid £6,703 less per year.

However, the new survey found that only one in eight (13%) workplaces the TUC spoke to were currently monitoring the pay gap between LGBT and non-LGBT workers. 

The findings show that there is a lot of work to be done, so it is not surprising that only one in five managers (20%) said they had an LGBT action plan to address the inequalities identified by the monitoring exercises. The TUC has also reminded the Government that it must introduce a range of measures to support LGBT people at work, including reporting the LGBT pay gap and protection from bullying and harassment at work.  

Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC, said: “Lesbian, gay, bi and trans people deserve to feel safe and respected at work. But it is shocking that many workplaces do not have specific policies to support their LGBT staff.” 

Darren Hockley, managing director of DeltaNet International, added: “Business leaders must create a culture where everyone understands that discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated against any employee. All employees deserve access to a safe working environment, and policies to support LGBT staff are essential.  

“Education is essential to prevent misconduct in the workplace, such as harassment, bullying and discrimination. Managers should prioritise mandatory training for all staff on equality and diversity, prevention of discrimination and harassment in the workplace, and courses on how to respect each other.   

“However, managers need to reinforce this training with strong internal policies. They should create policy documents outlining the consequences for any client, customer, colleague or third party who is found to be harassing employees, including LGBT policies.

“It is also essential to facilitate the process for employees to grieve and challenge harassment so that this behaviour never happens again to another colleague or person. Employees need to see visibly that their managers take harassment very seriously and recognise that any problems are dealt with immediately so that colleagues feel comfortable raising issues and know that what they say counts. 

“Diversity and inclusion measures do not stop there. They also include educating employees to be more aware of unconscious bias to help change views and build an inclusive culture. In addition, they should include the implementation of inclusive family policies, such as adoption, maternity and parental leave, to facilitate the recognition of the inclusion of LGBT workers. Business leaders should also support the use of gender-neutral pronouns in the workplace and how its use can be effective in making LGBT employees feel more comfortable in the workplace.” 

In this article, you learned that: 

  • Only 1 in 8 employers monitor their LGBT pay gap. 
  • Only 1 in 3 companies with LGBT policies have updated them in the last 12 months. 
  • Only half (51%) of managers surveyed have a policy prohibiting discrimination, bullying and harassment against LGBT workers in the workplace. 

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