With the month of June, comes not only the hot sun and longer days, but also vibrant colours, joyous celebrations and messages of acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community. This annual celebration serves as a reminder to the progress made and the challenges overcome, but also as inspiration for the various developments still to be made. We will continue the fight for the rights of every individual, both in and outside of the workplace, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, and shall explore in this article the significance of Pride Month and why it remains particularly important for employees to act on.
Education and Awareness
This month, we take the opportunity to recognise that supporting this movement takes not only Celebration, but also Education – we need to raise awareness of the hardship and discrimination still experienced today by countless people, much of which is disguised in our colleagues. Discrimination comes in different forms – it need not be outright aggression and lead to physical harm, but extends to subtle one-off remarks by a colleague, or the indirect, passing comment of someone unaware of the consequences.
By learning about these challenges, we can dispel myths, stereotypes and prejudice in order to gear towards a more compassionate society, as without empathy, we cannot hope to progress. Such awareness can be addressed with regular training on diversity, inclusion and equality as well as anti-harassment and bullying.
Supporting the LGBTQ+ Community and Employee Wellbeing
Supporting Pride in the workplace is more than a symbolic gesture; it is a long term statement and commitment towards progression. By embracing and actively championing LGBTQ+ rights, organisations can create an inclusive and cohesive environment that attracts top talent, whilst maintaining employee satisfaction and wellbeing. Whilst June is our opportunity to showcase our external support, our internal attitudes should be sustained throughout the year, as we move towards a brighter and more inclusive future.
It’s important to recognise that showing support and solidarity requires input from all. Employers who take action will set precedent and examples for the expected atmosphere within a workplace. Clear, zero-tolerance policies must be put in place to comply with the Equality Act 2010, protecting all employees from both direct and indirect discrimination. Employers have a duty to the wellbeing of their workers, and a duty to foster an inclusive environment, ultimately increasing job satisfaction and reducing stress and anxiety. Companies have a corporate social responsibility to demonstrate commitments towards equality, inclusivity and social progress.
Unfortunately, instances of discrimination, in any form, arise frequently in the workplace. In fact, whilst the majority of managers believe they have created a welcoming environment for members of the LGBTQ+ community, their employees feel differently. If you feel you or someone you know has been harassed or discriminated against in the work environment, the key action is to report this, no matter how small you feel it is, to enable the matter to be investigated and for a resolution to be found. On the flipside, employers should ensure that they have clear reporting procedures in place, such as grievance and whistleblowing policies, which are then undertaken in a prompt and thorough manner. If you would like to discuss steps that you can take to support LGBT staff and to make your workplace more inclusive, or if you are an employee and think you have been discriminated against because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our experts in the employment team.
Written by Josh Gupta – Work Experience Student