Homophobia is endemic in Northern Ireland workplaces, a report from a gay rights organisation says.
According to the Rainbow Project, more than a quarter of lesbian, gay and bisexual people have complained about homophobia at work but 70 per cent of these were not happy with how the issue was dealt with.
Just under a third (31 per cent) of community and voluntary sector workers said they had heard anti-gay remarks at work. This rose to 40 per cent in the public sector and 42.5 per cent in private businesses.
One in four private sector workers (26.9 per cent) said they hid their sexuality at work and a similar number of public sector employees (24.5 per cent) said the same.
The figures came from an online survey of 752 respondents.
The report, titled ‘Through Our Eyes – Experiences of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People in the Workplace’, was launched by social development minister Alex Attwood in parliament today.
Matthew McDermott of the Rainbow Project, who wrote the report, said: “While great progress had been made in the promotion of equality of opportunity across Northern Ireland, including in our workplaces, this report indicates that more needs to be done, particularly for LGB people.”
John O’Doherty, director of the Rainbow Project, added: “This report provides the evidence base for what it is like for LGB people in work in Northern Ireland. It also provides the business case for acting to make the situation better. Government, employers and the Rainbow Project have considerable work to do in that regard.
“I would urge our political representatives to read the report and commit to working together to implementing the recommendations.”
Mr Attwood said: “My department is committed to the progression of a shared future for all in Northern Ireland.
“I commissioned the Rainbow Project to carry out this research as part of this process.”