Read our article about bulling in the workplace within the LGBTQ+ community
Bullying and discrimination is more prevalent towards LGBTQ+ employees
LGBTQ+ employees are more reluctant to report their concerns
Look at your culture to see if you can change your approach
Here at CUBE HR, we love our jobs and we can’t imagine what it must feel like to dread going into work every day just because someone doesn’t like our sexual orientation or our gender. Yet even in our enlightened society, evidence suggests that LGBTQ+ people suffer more bullying and discrimination than their heterosexual and cisgender colleagues.
Bullying of LGBTQ+ people can include things such as:
- Making unnecessary and degrading references to someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity
- Engaging in banter or jokes that are degrading to that person
- “outing” a LGBTQ+ person without their permission
- Ignoring or excluding an LGBTQ+ person or spreading rumours or gossip about them
- Asking an LGBTQ+ colleague intrusive questions about their private life
- Making assumptions and judgements about an LGBTQ+ colleague
- Using religious beliefs to justify bullying and harassment
Whilst most companies will have a bullying and harassment policy, many LGBTQ+ employees are reluctant to report bullying and harassment, some of the most common reasons are:
- Feeling like it will ruin their career if they have to declare their LGBTQ+ status
- It’s all part of the workplace culture to have offensive banter, so they don’t feel their concerns will be taken seriously
- Lack of faith in the company’s confidentiality if they do talk to their manager or HR
- A fear that colleagues will look at them differently because they’ve complained
- Feeling their employer wouldn’t know what to do, or have failed to resolve concerns before
So how can employers tackle bullying and harassment of LGBTQ+ employees?
- Change the culture – check your policy and make sure it is used. No form of discrimination, bullying or harassment should be tolerated, and any complaint should always be taken seriously and fully investigated. Don’t accept workplace banter or foster a culture of “it’s only banter”, etc.
- Develop support structures for your LGBTQ+ employees – employee assistance schemes, staff forums, proper training for managers and staff, and a confidential email or number for reporting can all help open those doors to your LGBTQ+ employees feeling safer about reporting concerns.
- Makes sure all of your team are aware of their responsibility to each other to maintain an inclusive workplace.
- If you are aware that you have LGBTQ+ employees (we know not everyone wants to tell you) work with them to find solutions, they’ll have a better understanding of the challenges faced and potential ways round them.
Do you have questions about bullying and harassment?
Give us a call at CUBE HR, we’ll be happy to advise you and we have policies and templates available to meet every HR need.
Why not check out our other blog on the same topic Bullying and Harassment – 3 Things You Need to Know
You can also watch a range of other videos on our YouTube channel