Doncaster Office
Sheffield Office

Discrimination towards LGBTQ+ people in the workplace

21 June 2022

Richard Lozano

Pride Flags

Employers have a duty of care to all of their employees, this also includes those of the LGBTQ+ community. The LGBTQ+ rights have come a long way from where they began, with the biggest change occurring in 2013 to legalise same-sex marriage in the UK. As a result, more people and businesses are accepting of the LGBTQ+ community and more businesses are showing their support to the community and their employees.

However, unfortunately many LGBTQ+ people are still being discriminated against as a result of their sexuality or gender identity. Almost one in five LGBTQ+ staff have been a target of negative comments or conduct from colleagues and 1 in 8 transgender people have been physically attacked by customers or colleagues. These statistics just show the scale of the problem and that is the reason why the LGBTQ+ community are still fighting for equal rights.

As previously mentioned, all employers have a duty of care to their employees. All employers are under a statutory duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees. This also includes those who associate themselves with the LGBTQ+ community. The duty that employers hold forces all businesses to identify any health and safety risks to which employers may be exposed to at work, they then must take appropriate measures to control any workplace risks.

So, with this in mind. How should employers support LGBTQ+ employees?

It is fact that people perform better at work when they can be themselves. This includes being able to openly express their sexuality or gender in a way that other employees would be supportive of. Here are some ways that an employer can support LGBTQ+ employees:

  • Ensuring all policies are inclusive of LGBTQ+ people – All company policies and documents should be fully inclusive of all employees. This includes pensions, family and leaves policies, health insurance and maternity/paternity.
  • Engage employees who do not associate themselves as part of the LGBTQ+ community – Despite not being a part of the LGBTQ+ community, is it vital to openly involve all members of your team. This makes LGBTQ+ employees feel included and can help spread the message of diversity in your organisation.
  • Speak to your staff – Your employees are the heart and soul of your business, so making sure that everyone feels included is vital. Speak with LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ employees about inclusion in your business. This may raise issues or problems you may never have noticed.
  • Ensure senior members of your team are supportive – Having a good connection with senior staff is vital for any employee. This also extends to LGBTQ+ employees. If employees are openly supportive, this will allow for issues and problems to be raised with senior members.
  • Be accepting and supportive of your LGBTQ+ employee’s decisions – It is important to be supportive of your employee’s decisions and wishes. This may be simply calling your employees by their chosen pro-nouns or accepting of an employee’s gender identity transition.
  • Build Awareness via education and training – The biggest step an employer can take is providing training to all employees on inclusivity in their businesses. Educating employees on the growth of the LGBTQ+ community including sexualities and gender identities. This can help employees to be aware of these issues.

Here at Taylor Bracewell, we are fully supportive of all members of the LGBTQ+ community. As a law firm, we think it’s essential to fight for equal rights for all members of the public. No matter their gender or sexuality. Law’s affecting the LGBTQ+ community have come a long way and for the better!

Many businesses are also joining the fight for equality for the LGBTQ+ community and our employment team understands this can be a daunting process as it is so important to get correct. Our Employment team can help you or your business in the fight to prevent discrimination in the workplace. If you have any questions or queries, don’t hesitate to contact our employment team by calling 01302 341 414 or by filling out an online enquiry and a member of the team will be in touch as soon as possible. 

We have further articles on our website relating to the LGBTQ+ community, here are 2 that you may find informative: