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COOKIES & PRIVACY POLICY

To come out at work or not to come out: that is the question

Legal experts from Simpson Millar explain how you are protected in the workplace if you decide to come out

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 15:55:55 GMT | Updated today

It's Monday morning in the office, and everyone's gathered around the kettle gossiping about a colleague's upcoming wedding. Ignoring the anxious feeling in the pit of your stomach you make friendly conversation, but all of a sudden the spotlight is on you: are you seeing anyone or in a relationship?


Feeling nervous and agitated, you mumble a short, vague answer and make a swift exit. Walking back to your desk, a thousand thoughts are running through your mind. But, the question you can't stop focusing on is: why couldn't I tell the truth about who I'm in a relationship with?


The truth is, you're not alone. Over  a quarter (26%) of lesbian, gay, and bisexual workers are not open to colleagues about their sexual orientation.


Being openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender in the workplace is one of the most personal - and toughest - decisions that only you can make. Whilst you may be comfortable with your sexuality, many LGBT individuals fear the consequences of coming out at work.


Get to grips with your workplace rights


Ever since the Equality Act 2010 was introduced, it's been unlawful for your colleagues - or even your bosses - to treat you unfavourably because of your sexual orientation. If you have already come out as a lesbian, a bisexual, or transgender at work and experience any form of harassment or discrimination, it's important that you report it to your manager or HR department.


Knowing that discrimination and harassment is unlawful doesn't necessarily make coming out at work any easier. The evidence shows that in spite of the legal protections available, LGBT workers continue to suffer from higher levels of harassment at work than their heterosexual colleagues.


Coming out at work can benefit everyone


While many employers have diversity and inclusion policies aimed at supporting LGBT employees, there's more that can be done. Bosses who effectively deal with incidents of bullying and harassment aimed at LGBT workers, as well as challenging negative workplace attitudes towards LGBT people, will be sending a positive message of support to those who remain fearful of coming out.


Creating an inclusive environment for LGBT workers - one that embraces them for who they are as opposed to who they love - can bring with it many benefits, including: 

 

·  Increased productivity - if you feel accepted and respected then you will perform better. Less time and energy will be wasted on keeping part of your identity hidden, leaving you with more time to reach your full potential. 

 

·  You're more likely to develop deeper connections with your colleagues - we spend most of our waking lives at work with people we tend to see more than our friends or families. Being out can help dissolve barriers between you and colleagues, and lead to more personal connections.

 

·  Increased job satisfaction - LGBT employees who are out at work report higher levels of job satisfaction.

 

·  Greater commitment to work and a stronger sense of loyalty to your employer.

 

· Employers who value their staff and judge them on the basis of their performance - not their sexuality - will continue to attract and retain the best talent. 

 

If you are considering coming out at work, the Employment Team at Simpson Millar can offer you legal advice or support. We're here to make sure that you can be who you really are at work, without any compromises.

 

 

Only reading DIVA online? You're missing out. For more news, reviews and commentary, check out the latest issue. It's pretty badass, if we do say so ourselves.

 

divadirect.co.uk  //   divadigital.co.uk


 


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  • j g - Wed, 28 Sep 2016 22:17:15 GMT -

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    As soon as u start a new job join a union - employment tribunals cost thousands but unions pay for lawyers etc. Never ever expect HR to help . Usually they support managers who in my experience instigate bullying harassment malicious allegations and malicious complaints and disciplinary procedures when u r the victim. Bosses like to divide and rule, any minority is at risk. He will never go against the majority or a manager. If u r bi yu will be gossiped about more, studies have shown. Ive also been discriminated against due to mental health disability. Constructive dismissal. Often it's better to leave than put up with the hell. Join a union and yu have some protection. U cannot rely on union, u must be forceful and demand they back u up (politely but firmly). Out or in u can be victim of homophobia if they perceive u to be gay. Even straight ppl can be bullied, told "your gay.. yu like ladies..we cnt change in the changing room with u around cus u r pervert ha ha ha laughing whenever u enter room" etc.

  • j g - Wed, 28 Sep 2016 22:17:26 GMT -

    Report Abuse

    As soon as u start a new job join a union - employment tribunals cost thousands but unions pay for lawyers etc. Never ever expect HR to help . Usually they support managers who in my experience instigate bullying harassment malicious allegations and malicious complaints and disciplinary procedures when u r the victim. Bosses like to divide and rule, any minority is at risk. He will never go against the majority or a manager. If u r bi yu will be gossiped about more, studies have shown. Ive also been discriminated against due to mental health disability. Constructive dismissal. Often it's better to leave than put up with the hell. Join a union and yu have some protection. U cannot rely on union, u must be forceful and demand they back u up (politely but firmly). Out or in u can be victim of homophobia if they perceive u to be gay. Even straight ppl can be bullied, told "your gay.. yu like ladies..we cnt change in the changing room with u around cus u r pervert ha ha ha laughing whenever u enter room" etc.