Why employees are scared to ‘come out’ at work

 

Shocking research from LGBT charity Stonewall has found that many people are scared to ‘come out’ at work for fear of repercussions.

A third (35%) of LGBT people at work have hidden their identity in the last year because they were afraid of discrimination; a figure that rises to 42% for black, Asian and minority ethnic LGBT staff and 51% for trans staff.

The situation is even worse for LGBT staff who are black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME), trans or disabled, who were all found to be more likely to experience harassment and abuse in the workplace. Shockingly, one in ten BAME LGBT employees (10%) have been physically attacked by customers or colleagues in the last year, compared to three per cent of white people.

Nearly one in four trans people (24%) said they did not get a promotion they were up for at work because they were trans, compared to seven per cent of lesbian, gay and bi people who are not trans. Meanwhile, almost one in four LGBT disabled people (24 per cent) say they were excluded by colleagues in the last year.

Faye Baker from advo hr said that she “finds it quite sad that employees and potential employees feel they have to hide who they really are in the workplace or when applying for roles. Employers need to do more than rely on policies and practices to address this, they need to find ways to inspire an inclusive workplace, and work on how they build truly supportive working relationships.”

Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive, Stonewall, said employers should take action. “Over the past decade, leading employers across all sectors have shown a real commitment to inclusion and have taken positive steps towards LGBT equality,” she said. “Unfortunately, the findings of our Work Report show there’s still lots to do. The fact that more than a third (35 per cent) of LGBT staff have hidden their identity at work for fear of discrimination shows that change is still very much needed.

“Creating a workplace that accepts everyone isn’t just the right thing to do, it makes good business sense. When staff feel comfortable and happy, they will perform much better than if they’re having to hide who they are. We need more organisations and businesses to be active and visible in demonstrating their support for their LGBT employees.”

 

 

 

This issue was highlighted in HR Grapevine. You can read their original article here.

 
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