New Research Finds 30% of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Employees Have Been Harassed at Work

glen-EY-eventResearch launching today finds 30% of lesbian, gay and bisexual employees were harassed at work and over 10% quit a job because of discrimination, according to Working it Out, GLEN’s Diversity Champions report.

Supported by EY, and authored by researchers at Trinity College Dublin, this research, breaks new ground by understanding the workplace experiences of 590 full-time lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) employees in Ireland. Respondents 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. 

Speaking ahead of the launch set to take place at EY’s office on Harcourt Street, today, Davin Roche, Director at Diversity Champions, commented:  “While this research shows the challenges faced by many lesbian, gay and bisexual employees, it also clearly shows why it makes good business sense to address these issues.  Good employers know that people perform best when they can be themselves”.

Mike McKerr, Managing Partner at EY said: “Businesses have evolved their thinking about diversity over the last number of years. It’s no longer simply about levelling the playing field and providing equal opportunities. Truly diverse companies recognise, celebrate, and embrace difference. We believe this creates stronger businesses and competitive advantage in attracting and retaining LGBT professionals, critical for better innovation and business performance. “

Working It Out found that employers who demonstrated a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion had an advantage in attracting LGB candidates. 2 out of 3 people surveyed were open about their sexual orientation at work and 90% 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.

The report was authored by Brian McIntyre and Dr Elizabeth Nixon, Assistant Professor in Psychology, Trinity, based on their own original research. “The report explores the lived experience of 590 Irish LGB employees regarding their decisions to disclose or not to disclose their sexual orientation at work, and their experiences in the Irish workplace. It also provides valuable insight into how companies can drive improved business performance by fully engaging their lesbian, gay and bisexual employees. commented co-author Brian McIntyre a recent postgraduate from the School of Psychology, Trinity.

Diversity Champions is Ireland’s leading network for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) inclusive employers. Diversity Champions supports companies improve business performance through supporting LGBT equality and diversity in their organisations.

Catherine Vaughan, Head of EY’s EYGLES LGBT employee network concluded: As part of EY’s ongoing commitment to raising the bar on LGBT equality in the workplace, we work closely with GLEN’s Diversity Champions programme to identify best practice and opportunities for improvement.  The team at GLEN have helped us keep up the momentum by supporting the development of an annual action plan which has proved invaluable in allowing us to measure our success in this field.”

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