Current Affairs

New anti-bullying guide launched

Tony Grew February 9, 2007
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Gay equality organisation Stonewall has produced a guide to help employers stop homophobic bullying and harassment in the workplace.

It features practical examples of good practice currently being developed by a range of Stonewall’s partner organisations including BT, Accenture, Manchester City Council, the Royal Navy and Barnado’s.

The guide explains the difficulties gay employees can face when reporting bullying, and looks at ways that employers can deal with the problem and protect their company from possible legal action.

Supported by UBS investment bank, Preventing the Bullying and Harassment of Gay Employees is aimed at managers and HR professionals.

Workplace homophobia has been in the news this week.

As reported on on Wednesday, a gay men from West Yorkshire has been awarded over £17,000 compensation by an employment tribunal.

Chris Martin, 31, complained to his bosses at Parkham Foods about homophobic abuse at work, including the placing of pornographic images in toilets with his name on them.

He had been suspended in November 2005 after expressing anxiety that his complaint was not being addressed seriously.

The tribunal awarded him £10,000 for injury to feelings, £5,000 damages and costs from his former employer under the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003.

Employment tribunals can award unlimited compensation to people who have faced discrimination or harassment at work on grounds of their sexual orientation.

The guide’s author, Katherine Cowan, told “Bullying and harassment impacts badly not just on an individual, but on their colleagues and the wider organisation too.

“It is estimated that more than two million people in the UK are experiencing bullying at work, which costs the UK economy £1.3 billion a year.

“Our new guide is specifically designed to help employers find practical help for their workplace.”

Government actuaries estimate that six per cent of the adult population is lesbian or gay. The current UK workforce is 28.4 million.

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