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Public bodies asked to find out about gay and trans staff

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  1. Not a great idea. Collecting the experiences of LGBTs in the workplace might be valuable but simply sampling representation is irrelevant. What is more, what if LGBTs were found to be over-represented in a workplace or an industry – oh how the right wing press and their allies would pounce on that.

    Also, how much money is this data gathering going to waste?

  2. This is a breach of the human rights act under the public body duty and article 8 the right to private and family life.

  3. gary scott 13 Jan 2011, 3:17pm

    why? ( that’s all i can say about this)

  4. Scrapping the Equality Duty has made a real mess of things.

    Same old Tories!

  5. OrtharRrith 13 Jan 2011, 3:33pm

    What good does this do? There are no diversity targets being set so it doesn’t make the company hire more transgender or gay people. And the information gathered will be open to public scrutiny.
    Anyone else see the potential for abuse in this?
    Also, what about those gay people that for reasons of their own aren’t out? Straight away the data is squed

  6. de Villiers 13 Jan 2011, 3:39pm

    I do not think that this is a breach of Human Rights. The employer is obliged to ask but the employee is not obliged to answer. Further, each request would be anonymous.

    I would expect each employer to send or email and anonymous diversity questionnaire to each member of staff. Each member of staff would have the option of returning it fully completed, partially completed or not returning it. The employer would then publish the information that it received.

    I cannot see how the scrapping of the “Equality Duty” makes this more complicated, but I stand to be corrected.

  7. I was forcing my council to set up a gay youth group using the “Equality Duty.” We had a gay organisation in negotiations to step in and run the group, because the Council “was” going to have a “duty” to find and support gay youngsters, but not now the duty has gone. The Council are not interested any more!

  8. de Villiers 13 Jan 2011, 4:25pm

    I had understood that the only part of the Equality Act which was not to be brought into force was that relating to the socio-economic duty.

    The socio-economic duty appeared not to impose any further duties upon local authorities such that Liane Venner, head of equalities at Unison, said that it was a, “small, light-touch measure”.

    I cannot see how this would impact upon the setting up of a youth group. There was never under the socio-economic element any “duty” to set up new programmes or to find and support gay youngsters.

    Are you able to refer me to the part of the EA under which you were to perform these functions? It may be that they remain in force – with the result that the council might still be persuaded to continue with the project.

  9. Lynne is doing the dirty work for her homophobic masters…

  10. Tim Hopkins 14 Jan 2011, 8:01am

    De Villiers is right; the equality duty has not gone. What was scrapped was the socio-economic duty, which is something completely different.

    The equality duty, which requires all public bodies to have due regard to eliminating discrimination, advancing equality of opportunity, and fostering good relations between different communities, will come into effect on April 6th. It includes sexual orientation and gender reassignment equality.

    There will also be “specific duties”, which tell public bodies more specifically what they must do to implement the equality duty. These are rather weaker (in my opinion) in England and Wales than originally planned (and weaker than they are in Scotland where they are the responsibility of the Scottish Govt).

  11. I don’t care how well-intentioned this is, it’s sounds creepy to me.

  12. What a relief this kind of nonsense got canned along with the last government.

    Why on earth should a public body publish information about the diversity of its employees – it is completely irrelevant to their purpose.

    Sounds like a gargantuan waste of time and money.

  13. Tim Hopkins 14 Jan 2011, 1:10pm

    vulpus rex: “Why on earth should a public body publish information about the diversity of its employees”

    Because:

    1) We know that there is still a lot of discrimination in employment going on: women are paid less than men on average, fewer disabled and trans people have jobs, some LGB people are harassed about their sexual orientation at work, etc. Public services are rightly under a legal duty to eliminate that discrimination.

    2) I pay a lot of tax, most of which is spent employing people to provide public services. I want my tax money spent fairly and not subsidising discrimination in that employment.

    3) The only way that public services can eliminate discrimination in their employment practices is to monitor what is going on so they can measure how much discrimination is happening and of what kind.

    4) Public services should be accountable to us, the public who pay for them, and so they should transparently publish information about what they are doing, including what they are doing to eliminate discrimination.

    All of the above is agreed and supported by the Conservative / LD government by the way.

  14. vulpus_rex 14 Jan 2011, 3:12pm

    Tim – none of what you say, even if it were true (which I don’t think it is) will be affected or influenced by monitoring & publishing diversity statistics.

    Let’s take just one thing – “Women are paid less than men on average” – this is not because of discrimination but because women do different types of work and take more career breaks. T

    There is not one employer in the UK who hires a woman and pays her less than a man.

    Even if there were, how would asking an institution to publish how many women they employ and what their ethnic background is affect the pay of the women concerned?

    It wouldn’t – it is just a monstrous waste of money regardless of whether supported by any particular political party.

  15. de Villiers 14 Jan 2011, 4:53pm

    I would be happy to know the number of gay persons who are happy to identify themselves who occupy the positions of police chiefs, judges, senior civil servants etc.

    It might increase the visibility of gay persons who work in posts that are considered not to be those with which gay persons traditionally have been identified.

  16. One minute I’m talking to my council about starting a gay youth group and now I’m not and this scrapping has everything to do with it.

    Same old Tories!

  17. Dan Filson 15 Jan 2011, 2:24am

    “Large public employers are being encouraged to find out how represented lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people are in their organisations.” Most UK Government Departments have been surveying the make up of their workforces (by means of asking staff to record this information confidentially on their electronic personnel records) in terms of ethnicity, gender mix, disability etc for some years and more recently have been asking staff to declare their sexual orientation – this is of course held confidentially so that line managers and so on do not know what is recorded. There are several problems: one, staff are entitled not to do their diversity recording at all (though managers get told what % of their teams haven’t and get a bollocking for low %); second, they can record but state ‘choose not to say’ without penalty; third, even if all new employees were induced to record their diversity data, it takes time for the data therefore to cover the full workforce so you have to extrapolate from those who have recorded their diversity status to estimate what the likely composition of the full workforce might be; fourthly, and somewhat bizarrely, some staff who did declare themselves to be gay or lesbian, later record themselves as ‘choose not to say’ or even straight. The data enable analysis of promotion rates, awarding of bonuses etc. But I agree with Tim Hopkins, it is all part of the employer’s duty of care to demonstrate they are acting fairly towards their workforce. Next steps should be to urge private sector larger employers – 100+ staff say – to do likewise. Data does not prove discrimination or otherwise, it enable folk to ask questions as to why x or y should be the way it seems to be.

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