Study: ‘One in three’ lesbian and bisexual women experience workplace bullying

Nick Duffy January 31, 2014
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One in three lesbians and bisexual women experience workplace bullying, a study has found.

The study, published by Manchester Business School and Plymouth University this week, interviewed over 1200 lesbian, gay and bisexual people across the UK, and found reports of bullying were far higher than among straight colleagues.

Including gay and bisexual men, the rate was 1 in 10, double the 1 in 20 rate for straight people.

The overwhelming source of bullying and discrimination was from managers. 44% of respondents identified someone senior to them as the culprit, as opposed to just 3% from a subordinate.

One in four respondents who said they had been bullied ‘did nothing’ about it, while of those who did complain, only one in three said a formal investigation had taken place.

Professor Helge Hoel, of Manchester Business School, said: “Our study establishes beyond doubt that bullying and discrimination is a common experience for many lesbian, gay and bisexual employees.

“Lesbians and bisexual women are particularly negatively affected. Whilst negative stereotypes and stereotyping of lesbians and gay men play a key role in many bullying scenarios, they are often denied and are rarely confronted openly in the debate about bullying and homophobia.

“The most surprising finding is that so many people, colleagues and managers alike, believe it is up to LGBs themselves to put a stop to such unwanted behaviours and set the necessary boundaries, instead of intervening directly when confronted with examples of behaviours that are socially unacceptable.

“These findings have a number of clear implications for employers and managers, who need to act if progress is to be made on the problems we’ve identified.”

Professor Duncan Lewis, of Plymouth University, said: “The findings of our study are truly shocking, and suggest that although progress has been made in British workplaces regarding equality and sexuality, much more work needs to be done.”

More: anti-gay harassment, bullying, Employment, harassment at work, Homophobia, HR, manchester business school, plymouth university, report, research, study, work, workplace

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