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Pride Month 2024

June is Pride Month and an opportunity to celebrate and focus on issues affecting LGBTQI+ communities. This year’s theme “We Are Everywhere” is a call to recognise the contribution that this community makes at every level of society.

What better time to reflect on workplace practices and consider ways in which individuals can be supported to feel comfortable to be themselves and thrive – which is undeniably in the interests of both the employer and employee.

Despite  steps taken towards improving the community’s experience at work too many individuals still experience  discrimination and harassment in the workplace. The Equality Act 2010 provides discrimination protections in relation to people’s sexual orientation, gender and sex but the protection from legislation only goes so far and employers need to do more.

Claims for discrimination can encompass a wide range of treatment including where individuals are treated less favourably because of their sexual orientation, for example not being given a promotion because they are in a same-sex relationship to protecting against harassment in the form of inappropriate “banter”.  It is often the less obvious forms of discrimination, such as  behaviour arising from unconscious bias  where even more proactive employers fall down.

Pride month is a good time to reflect on  the practices employers should seek to have in place – not just for this month when awareness is hight but as a permanent feature of the workplace. Some practices and steps that could be considered to encourage inclusion in the workplace are:

  • Review policies – ensure that Diversity, Equality and Inclusion policies are complete and up to date. Consider not only whether the language and legal principles are correct but also whether other policies demonstrate an inclusive approach. Such as, do any parental leave policies lean towards a more heterosexual nuclear family perspective or do they provide for and acknowledge other family arrangements.


  • Consider your global perspectiveWith a continuing shift to a more global workforce where countries’ employment laws and attitudes to sexual orientation vary careful consideration should be given to corporate culture, language, and law (obviously enough)   when drafting inclusive staff policies for use in more than one country.


  • Provide trainingensure regular training is undertaken on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion at all levels of the organisation. For example, managerial training with a focus on Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion can help managers support staff to feel safe and comfortable to be themselves and also assist them in considering identifying working practices or behaviours which could be more inclusive .


  • Consider establishing an employee committeethese groups can focus on ensuring LGBTQI+ perspectives and considerations are represented and taken into account and suggest ways to improve procedures and processes. Employee committees are also a good way of of identifying concerns and addressing any potential issues at an earlier stage.


  • Promptly and sensitively resolve complaintsmany issues can be resolved if addressed early and with appropriate attention. Try to avoid taking knee jerk reactions to complaints and consider any potential discrimination elements carefully, even where employees may be cautious about suggesting discrimination themselves. If any complaints or allegations are made on an informal basis is it always best to properly consider them at that stage and try to seek resolution. Once an employer is on notice of an issue – even if an employee says that they do not want it formally addressed – some steps should be taken to resolve matters or prevent repeated behaviours.  This should be done sensitively, respective the employee’s wishes as much as possible but taking no action is almost never appropriate.


  • Consider workplace processesConsider whether internal processes are fair and follow best practice, and whether there are any improvements that can be made. For example, are recruitment processes carried out in a way that avoids as far as possible the risk of unconscious bias or discrimination. Any questions responses to Equality and Diversity questionnaires should be kept separate and anonymous from the application and interview process.


There are many steps employers can take to support people to be their authentic selves at work.  We regularly represent employers and employers in claims involving discrimination and harassment.  We also provide management and workforce training, designed to avoid issues arising in the first place.  If you would like any further information or assistance on the matters discussed in this article or reviewing workplace practices please contact Adele Martins ([email protected]) or a member of the Employment Team.



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