If you work in a professional environment or supervise staff in any capacity, you will come across members of your team, other professionals or clients who identify as LGBT+. If you choose not to consider LGBT+ equality law and practice, you leave your business open to potential loss of profit and employment tribunals. Here are some things to think about to help you give the best impression of your business.
- Remember that it is illegal to disclose someone else’s Trans* status unless you have specifically been given permission by that person to disclose in that specific situation. Do not assume that being given permission once, allows you to continue to disclose.
- One of your team members has come out as Pansexual, and has come to you as their manager as they are being harassed and bullied about it, what would you do?
- If you are wanting to expand your staff, ensure that your recruiting policy, advert wording and interviewing procedures do not discriminate against LGBT+ people.
- Consider displaying a rainbow flag in a public area of your business, or in your office. It will let LGBT+ staff and clients know that you actively support them and are aware of the issues faced by LGBT+ people.
- A diverse workforce benefits your business, but do ensure that any staff equality monitoring that you request is held confidentially.
- Check that the wording of your policies/staff handbook is not gendered, or it could be seen to be biased against those in same-sex relationships, or those who self-identify as gender fluid.
- Coming out, especially to working colleagues, can be a difficult task, ensure your staff get the full and active support of management during this time. Work colleagues are the people that we spend a third of our life alongside, so ensure that you know members of your team and keep their information confidential until they are ready to make the announcement.
- If members of your team do want to come out, ask them how they would like to approach it, rather than telling them how it will be done.
- Ensure that you absence policies covering time off for adoption also make allowance for same-sex couples.
- Ensure that your absence policies cover time off for medical appointments connected with gender transition, including time allowed for post-surgery recovery.
- It is also illegal to refuse someone access to goods or services based on their actual, or perceived, gender identity or sexual orientation. Ensure that your staff are aware of the consequences of doing this, and ensure that you run equality law awareness and training.
- You may find that clients choose not to do business with you due to the ingrained culture within your business based on discrimination and outdated perceptions of LGBT+ individuals. Take time to review your work culture now, rather than when an incident or claim arises.
Don’t forget that we’re right here to answer any questions that you may have about anything LGBT+. We understand that time is precious for you, you are welcome to e-mail, phone or come and see us, whether it’s a single question, to refer someone to our services, or to discuss LGBT+ awareness training for your staff. Just let us know what we can do to help.