Have Pride in your business: The importance of inclusive policies in the workplace

Much more progress needs to be made in the workplace so that every person that identifies as LGBTQ+ feels accepted for who they are at work.  

There are significant differences between LGBTQ+ workers’ job quality, compared with their heterosexual colleagues. LGBTQ+ employees are more likely to report that work has a negative impact on their health and are more likely to be dissatisfied with their jobs.  

Research by TUC shows that LGBTQ+ people’s working relationships are a cause for concern. Nearly 70% of LGBTQ+ workers have been sexually harassed or assaulted at work and many have not told their employer, in some cases due to fear of being ‘outed’ at work. Meanwhile, 41% of LGBTQ+ graduates go ‘back in the closet’ when starting their first job.  

This suggests that employers’ handling of conflict and harassment must improve, and companies must develop a greater understanding of the specific experiences and needs of LGBTQ+ employees, particularly when it comes to building awareness and taking action in policies and practices. 

MSB’s policies and practices – anti-bullying and harassment  

MSB has clear and specific LGBTQ+ policies in place to help address these issues and to create an open and inclusive culture so that all employees feel comfortable at work. 

For instance, MSB’s LGBTQ+ Anti Bullying and Harassment Policy defines harassment and highlights all types of harassment that is not tolerated.  

What is harassment?

Harassment occurs when one person subjects another to unwanted conduct that violates that person’s dignity. Creation of a hostile, intimidating, degrading, or humiliating environment all constitutes harassment. 

Harassment may be motivated by a person’s colour, race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, trans/trans/gender identity, gender reassignment, homophobia, transphobia, sex, sexual orientation, marital or civil partnership status, religious or political belief, appearance or age. 

The policy also sets out clear guidance on what to do if an Employee is subject to this treatment.  

What to do: 

We understand there may be barriers to face in relation to reporting bullying and harassment, particularly with regard to LGBTQI issues and therefore suggest a two staged approach to dealing with the situation. 

Informal approach:
If you feel able to do so, confront the person involved. It may be worth considering writing to or emailing them if you are not comfortable in speaking with them. You need to let them know how their actions are affecting you and then ask them to stop. Get a trusted friend or colleague to help you if you need the support. 

When informal isn’t possible or proves to be inadequate:
In the first instance speak to Emma Carey or Joanne Dalton who will discuss the issues with you to help you decide whether you wish to make a formal complaint. They will need to know as much detail as possible regarding the conduct of the other party(s) and you will need to consider what redress you seek (i.e. what outcome you want from making the complaint). 

Creating and enforcing clear policies such as these are vital to drive and sustain inclusive workplaces. As a minimum, employers have legal obligations to prevent and address discrimination, and should take a zero-tolerance approach to this. By allowing staff to be themselves in the workplace employers can create an inclusive, supportive workforce and get the best from everyone. 

Contact us, we are here to help