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Q&A: Homophobia and sexual harassment at work

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  1. Mostly common sense outcomes, but useful to know the citations – thanks.

  2. Some very good answers there. Three golden rules for dealing with this stuff:

    1) Join the union! The more militant, the better. There’s nothing worse than joining one which is only out there to fight your bosses’ corner. Simply bieng a member to a militant union will make bosses take your concerns more seriously. Most unions also will, keep you informed about your rights and help you through tribunal and pay your legal fees for you up front. Prevention is better than the cure, people.

    2) Go through the grievance procedures. Grievance procedures are usualy a complete joke. Employers would rather spend thier time whipping more work out of thier employers than taking the time to listen to thier problems and it shows. Don’t expect results from this, but if you don’t do it and you leave, or commit a breach of contract as a result of your problems then your chances of getting the problem sorted properly later are very slim. I repeat a again, DO NOT just walk out of your job without submitting a grievance first!

    3) Work fast! There’s a time limit on most of this stuff. We’re talking weeks here, not years. Get your grievance submitted asap and then straight away contact your union, Citizens Advice Beurau, or solicitor (in that order of prefferance. Don’t dither with it or nothing will get sorted and the employer will continue to behave like this

    Don’t feel guilty for challenging your employer, because if they’re bullying you, then the chance is that they’ll bully others until they’ve had a kick up the butt to make them think twice in future. It’s illegal to blacklist you from jobs for taking an ex-employer to tribunal and it’s illegal to discriminate on the grounds of union membership, just as much sexuality, gender identity, or religion. The biggest tip I can really offer anyone is to join a militant union, BEFORE things get out of hand (some unions won’t help out until you’ve been a member for a little while). Union membership’s never been lower and it shows with job cuts, pay cuts, harrasment and bullying and generally employers acting like little Hitlers because workers have abandoned the only good weapon they had to fight back.

    Good luck to anyone out there having problems at work. x

  3. Simon Murphy 11 Feb 2010, 1:35pm

    Dear Deidre,
    I am gay but I work for the Tory Party. My boss – ‘Call me Dave’ Cameron thinks it’s appropriate to defend homophobic bigotry of the most disgusting kind from his partners in Poland. He is also going to appoint a catholic extremist – who is already working to reduce the parental rights of non-gay parents – as a minister in charge of families. ‘Call me Dave’ says he supports gay equality but in practice he intends to increase funding to homophobic faith schools. Please advise me Deidre. Should I continue working for the Tories? And should I consider voting for them?
    Confused in LGBTory Group

    Dear Confused,
    If you enjoy being abused and treated like dirt then the answer is yes – stay working for the Tories and vote for them. I would encourage you to develop some self respect and run for the hills however.

  4. I must have missed that one in The Sun Simon Murphy
    I look forward to seeing it though =]

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