Concerning new research has revealed that over one in 10 professionals have experienced homophobic bullying at work, with a further 15 per cent having witnessed a colleague being subject to this kind of prejudice.
The survey of UK workers sought to explore the topic of diversity in the workplace, particularly amongst the LGBT community. Professionals were asked if they were open about their sexuality at work and if they felt comfortable being so, revealing that over a third felt pressure to be open about their sexual orientation when starting a new job.
Nearly three quarters of those that identify as LGBT are open about their sexual orientation at work, however, one in 10 said that their employer doesn’t actively support LGBT diversity in the workplace – that’s despite over half of UK professionals believing that employers should do more to support LGBT diversity at work.
Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, comments: “It’s positive to see that so many professionals feel they can be open with their co-workers and managers in regards to their sexual orientation, but they should only share this information if they feel comfortable doing so. That said, it’s concerning to learn that so many are being affected by discrimination and bullying because of this and businesses need to ensure they take a zero-tolerance approach to this sort of behaviour, or intimidation of any kind.
“It has also become apparent that employers need to do more to actively support LGBT diversity in their workplace. Perhaps then we will see the numbers of those being affected by homophobic bullying begin to decrease.”
With an alarming number of professionals experiencing or witnessing homophobic bullying in the workplace, it’s concerning to learn that over half said that their employer doesn’t have, or they are not aware of, any anti-discrimination policies in their place of work. What’s more, over one quarter said they either wouldn’t, or were unsure if they would, feel confident enough to report homophobic bullying should they witness this taking place at work.
Biggins concludes: “It’s vital that you create a culture where staff feel confident and safe reporting anything they experience themselves, or that they witness, when it comes to discriminatory and unacceptable behaviour at work.”