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
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
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
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
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
Coming out at work can
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,
· 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
· 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
· 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
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
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