A new survey conducted in Ireland of over 800 Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual people has found that three out of four LGB employees feel that they are required to keep their sexual orientation hidden at work.
The survey which was conducted by Dublin-based employment law firm Graphite HRM highlighted that 74% of Irish employees feel they have to hide their sexuality from their managers and colleagues in fear of being treated differently.
Alan Price who is the managing director of Graphite HRM said in a statement that “It is extremely disappointing and frustrating to hear that employees feel like they have to hide who they are from their colleagues and employers.”
The survey also found that 71% have been the victim of stereotypical homophobic jokes or have heard negative remarks around the workplace, and 66% believe that managers turn a blind eye to remarks about sexual orientation and are not supportive when they come forward for help.
“Businesses should be celebrating diversity and welcoming people from different backgrounds, who bring forth new ways of thinking, adding a sense of richness to the workplace that can help broaden your client base and grow your business,” Mr Price stated.
“Valuing diversity for any organization should no longer be just a consideration, but an imperative tool to drive businesses forward.”
Price who also highlighted that businesses face an increased risk of litigation if they fail to act and support LGBTI staff from discriminatory comments said, “Colleagues may see these jokes as just harmless fun, but for the person on the receiving end it is demoralising and hurtful.”
“Employers need to be aware that allowing such behavior to continue in their organizations is likely to have serious consequences for the reputation of their business, stemming from an employee’s right to put forth a tribunal claim if they feel they are the victim of discrimination at work.”
Director of Workplace Diversity with Ireland-based advocacy group Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), Davin Roche, said that the findings were disappointing, and that “people who can be themselves at work report far better workplaces experiences that those who can’t.”
Roche said that in Ireland surveys have found that people who ‘come out’ rarely experience a negative impact on their working situation. However, many workplaces do have people who are homophobic or intolerant of LGBTI colleagues.
Ireland’s Employment Equality Act and Equal Status Act offer LGBTI people employment protection, however, religious-based organizations including Catholic schools or medical facilities have been given exemptions.
Last Updated on Oct 20, 2015