Homophobic Bullying at Work

Publish Date: 16/11/2012


Stonewall research found that nearly one in five lesbian and gay people, almost 350,000 employees in Britain, has experienced bullying from their colleagues because of their sexual orientation Almost four million people (13 per cent of the national workforce) have witnessed verbal homophobic bullying in the workplace and over one million people (4 per cent of the national workforce) have witnessed physical homophobic bullying at work.

Bullying, of any kind, can significantly impact on an individual’s ability to do their job and their own personal health and wellbeing.

Darren Knight from The Lesbian & Gay Foundation comments Bullying is something that occurs in all walks of life and is not something that stops when you leave school. Bullying in the workplace is a very common issue and employers have a commitment to you as a member of staff to ensure that you’re free from discrimination and harassment within the work place.”

Bullying and harassment are terms that are often used interchangeably by individuals and definitions include bullying as a form of harassment. It doesn’t matter how you define it, if you feel that you’re being bullied, harassed or discriminated against because of anything; you need to do something about it and there are lots ofways to do that.”

Darren shares his 5 top tips to tackle homophobic bullying in the workplace;

Challenge it, report it, stop it!        

If you feel safe, able and are willing to, you should always challenge work place bullying wherever you see it happening.  If you’re uncertain, unsure or don’t feel able to challenge it, then you should report it!  If you don’t report an incident, whether it happens to you or a colleague, nothing will change.  Through either challenging the situation or reporting it; you’re taking action to stop the bullying!

Know your company policy

It is essential that you know and understand the bullying and harassment policy in your workplace.  You will probably have a policy that talks about bullying, harassment, whistle blowing and similar issues.  If you don’t have one, speak to your HR Manager or the person responsible for staff or have a search on your intranet if you have one.

Use your Union…or ACAS

If you’re a member of a Union, you will be able to seek support from your local workplace representative, or your central office if you’d prefer.  There are also lots of handy support guides available through your Unions about when, how and where to take action and the support that you should expect to receive.  The important thing to remember is that even if you’re not a member of a Union, you can get support from ACAS who also have a range of fantastic information resources.

Be aware that the law exists

The Equality Act 2010 was implemented as a piece of legislation that aims to prevent discrimination in the workplace, in the provision of services and also in education.  The Act harmonises over 100 pieces of legislation that exist to protect you from discrimination at work, including harassment.  The law is there to protect you and it is there to be used if you don’t feel that you’ve been treated fairly.

And for employers...

Open, friendly, supportive work places result in higher productivity

It has been proven through research that diverse, open, friendly and supportive work places result in a more positive work environment and increased productivity.  Bullying and harassment is not conducive to a positive working environment – so it’s important that bullying is always challenged.

For more information and support visit lgbt.foundationor call 0845 3 30 30 30.