We may be 50 years on from the Stonewall riots, but it is important to understand that the fights are still continuing, and some people still face discrimination in the workplace, this is not something anyone should have to put up with.
The Equality Act 2010 protects lesbian, gay, bi and trans people from direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation at work. It also applies to anyone who is perceived to be lesbian, gay, bi and trans or who is discriminated against because they associate with the LGBT community.
All employers must adhere to this act, which also states that no one should be discriminated against because of their age, disability, gender, identity, race, religion, belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage, civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity.
If you feel you are being bullied or harassed in the workplace because of your sexual orientation, then please know you are not alone, and this is not something you have to put up with. There are places you can get help.
Firstly, if you are being discriminated against by a colleague then your first port of call should be your line manager. Explain what is going on and if you can, have some examples to illustrate the situation. Your workplace should have a discrimination policy in place and your line manager should use this to speak to the person or people in question. They should also provide adequate equality and diversity training for all staff.
If you don’t feel that your line manager has dealt with the situation adequately or the situation continues, then you could go to someone higher in the business.
There’s also a number of outside organisations that can help. ACAS has a free helpline that you can call, and they will explain your options to you. Their website is also full of advice.
If you’re an employer and you don’t think your workplace does enough to create an all-inclusive environment, then Stonewall is a great place to get advice and information.
This blog is just a general guide to how you can get help and what is available, if you are struggling or being harassed in any way, please do seek professional advice, you do not have to put up with it!