RESEARCHERS AT TRINITY College Dublin have found that 30 per cent of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) employees have been harassed at work and over 10 per cent have quit their jobs because of discrimination.
The ‘Working it Out’, GLEN’s Diversity Champions report “breaks new ground” by understanding the workplace experiences of 590 full-time LGB employees in Ireland, said GLEN.
The report found that two out of three people surveyed were open about their sexual orientation at work and 90 per cent of these reported no negative impact on their relationships with colleagues.
The research found that employees who were out at work were more committed to their employer than employees who were not out.
It also found that employers who demonstrated a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion had an advantage in attracting LGB candidates.
Respondents for the report spoke of the stress caused by having to conceal their sexual orientation at work, with new employees being twice as likely to not disclose their sexual orientation as longer standing employees.
Mike McKerr, Managing Partner at EY, who supported the research said that businesses had evolved their thinking about diversity over the last number of years, but said that “it is no longer simply about levelling the playing field and providing equal opportunities. Truly diverse companies recognise, celebrate, and embrace difference,” he said.
“We believe this creates stronger businesses and competitive advantage in attracting and retaining LGBT professionals, critical for better innovation and business performance,” Kerr added.
Davin Roche, Director at Diversity Champions – Ireland’s network for LGBT inclusive employers – said that the Trinity College research shows the challenges faced by many lesbian, gay and bisexual employees, but that it also clearly shows “why it makes good business sense to address these issues”.
Brian McIntyre, the c0-author of the report said that the research can provide a valuable insight into how companies can drive improved business performance by fully engaging their lesbian, gay and bisexual employees.
Good employers know that people perform best when they can be themselves.