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LGBTQIA workers need more protections at work, TUC warns

New research shows 21% of offices and factories lack guidelines for their LGBT+ workers, and only 51% have anti-bullying policies in place

PEOPLE who identify as LGBT+ need more protection at work, the TUC warned today, after new research revealed that a fifth of workplaces did not have any policies in place to support LGBT+ staff.

A YouGov poll — commissioned by the union confederation — reveals that 21 per cent of offices and factories lack guidelines for their LGBT+ workers, while only 51 per cent have an anti-bullying policy for those employees.

Fewer than half have a clear reporting route for LGBT+ staff who suffer discrimination and just a quarter have a policy to support trans workers who wish to transition to another gender, the survey of about 1,000 human resources managers also suggests. 

Only 13 per cent currently monitor the pay gap between LGBT+ employees and their non-LGBT+ colleagues, despite recent research showing the latter are often paid up to 16 per cent more, the TUC stressed. 

The disparity sees LGBT+ staff effectively miss out on an average of £6,703 per year.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Lesbian, gay, bi and trans people deserve to feel safe and to be respected at work. 

“But it’s shocking so many workplaces don’t have specific policies in place to support their LGBT staff.

“Without these policies, too many LGBT workers experience bullying, harassment and discrimination at work.”

The poll, conducted in June, also shows that just 47 per cent of human resources managers have family policies, such as adoption and shared parental leave guidelines, that apply equally to LGBT+ workers.

Of those, only 34 per cent have reviewed their policies in the last 12 months, while 28 per cent cannot remember when they last looked at them.

“A step change is long overdue,” Ms O’Grady demanded, adding: “Ministers must introduce a new duty on employers to protect all workers from harassment by customers and clients.

“And government should also introduce a statutory requirement for large employers to report on their LGBT pay gaps — in the same way they do their gender pay gaps — with action plans detailing how bosses will address these inequalities.”

The general secretary, who is due to step down from the union body at the end of the year, urged Westminster to work with unions on a strategy to ensure every workplace is safe for all LGBT+ people.

The call came on the opening day of the TUC’s annual LGBT+ conference.

The two-day event, being held in London, sees activists meet to “form cutting-edge LGBT equalities policy for the trade union movement,” according to organisers.

The conference, which comes ahead of London Pride on Saturday, is being addressed by a number of speakers, including Labour MP Nadia Whittome and Stuart Milk, nephew of pioneering LGBT+ rights activist Harvey Milk.

He became the first openly gay man elected to public office in the US when he stood for the San Francisco board of supervisors in November 1977, but he was assassinated a year later.

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