New TUC polling of HR professionals released today (Thursday) has revealed a widespread lack of support for LGBT staff at work.
One in five (21%) UK workplaces surveyed said that they do not have any policies in place to support their lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) staff at work.
Only half (51%) of managers told the TUC they have a policy prohibiting discrimination, bullying and harassment against LGBT workers in their workplace.
And less than half (47%) said they have a clear reporting route for workers to raise concerns about discrimination, bullying and harassment against LGBT workers – even though one in seven (15%) managers have responded to bullying, harassment or discrimination against one or more LGBT workers.
The TUC says that without these policies, too many LGBT workers experience bullying, harassment and discrimination at work.
Take for example Verity, a teacher from the North West, who told the TUC: "I worked as a teacher at a faith school for four years, and it was a very happy working environment.
"Our department used to sit together at lunch, and we’d socialise together at weekends. I wasn’t out at work, although outside of work my family and friends all knew that I was gay.
"In my fourth year at the school I thought I had made such good friends, and felt so comfortable that I started to feel I was being dishonest by not sharing who I was. I started by telling my closest friend at work.
"Everything changed very quicky then, with rumours about me going around. A colleague was abusive to me at a social event, and the department staff started having lunch without me.
"I felt isolated and pushed out. The head of department took me aside to tell me that my attitude was dragging down the department and said that I should buck up or leave. I was reduced to tears.
"At the time I convinced myself it was my own fault for thinking that I could be gay and work for a faith school. I didn’t know that I could involve the union. I ended up leaving that permanent position and moving to a temporary role, and taking a step down in my career, just to get out.
"Years later, I’m much happier in a new school, where I’m the diversity and inclusion lead, and I even met my wife there!"
The TUC believes that a step change in how we support LGBT people at work is long overdue.
Ministers must introduce a new duty on employers to protect all workers from harassment by customers and clients.
And government should also introduce a statutory requirement for large employers to report on their LGBT pay gaps – in the same way they do their gender pay gaps – with action plans detailing how bosses will address these inequalities.
Want to hear about our latest news and blogs?
Sign up now to get it straight to your inbox
To access the admin area, you will need to setup two-factor authentication (TFA).