The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has launched its new guide for union reps on how to combat homophobia in the workplace after it was found earlier this month that one in four Britons still described same-sex relationships as “always wrong.”
The guide, LGBT Equality at Work, provides legal tips for challenging harassment at work and practical advice on how unions can best represent their LGBT members.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “There has been enormous progress in society’s readiness to welcome LGBT people as equal fellow citizens.
“However, many LGBT people still encounter prejudice at the workplace and it essential that homophobia is challenged where and when it happens. This guide provides a range of legal and practical advice that union reps can use to combat unacceptable behaviour and make sure LGBT staff get the respect they deserve.”
LGBT Equality at Work offers guidance on a range of issues from challenging anti-gay behaviour and language to ensuring that LGBT workers in any one of the 77 countries where being gay is still considered a criminal offense are fully protected by their employers.
The guide has been published just weeks after the 30th British Social Attitudes Survey revealed that despite steady progress in the social acceptance of LGBT people, one in four people in the UK still remain prejudiced.
The survey found that 22% of respondents thought that “sexual relations between two adults of the same sex” were “always wrong.” A further 6% described them as “mostly wrong.”
On the other hand, 47% of respondents thought that same-sex relations were “not wrong at all,” with a further 10% describing them as “rarely wrong.”
The TUC said it hopes the guide will help unions to make workplaces more open and tolerant environments for LGBT workers.
She said: “Employers no longer have to take action if a gay or lesbian worker suffers homophobic abuse from a member of the public. And employers may soon not have to promote tolerance in the workplace as a result of the public sector equality duty being placed under review.
“Ministers are giving with one hand and taking away with another. This administration, which likes to badge itself as gay friendly, is slashing the budget of the Equality and Human Rights Commission by nearly two-thirds, which reduces its ability to challenge discrimination at work.”