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Businesses advised on combating homophobia

25 / 09 / 2013
Under employment law, it is necessary for businesses to ensure that their employees are protected against bullying or harassment at work.

In particular, making sure that people are not discriminated against is important for compliance with these laws; whether this relates to race, gender or sexuality.

However, the British Social Attitudes Survey has noted that there are still some people who persist in victimising people who are homosexual. To help businesses deal with these people, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has posted guidance for union representatives.

In its report titled LGBT Equality at Work, legal advice is provided for people who have been the victims of harassment due to their sexuality at work.

General secretary for the TUC 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."

Under the Equality Act 2010, people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) are formally recognised as equal to those who are heterosexual. This means that in the workplace LGBT workers must be given the same rights as other employees.

Additionally, businesses in the public sector must understand that they are subject to the Public Sector Equality Duty. As a result they must ensure that they meet the regulatory requirements that could affect their workers.

These include stamping out discrimination, harassment and victimisation that their employees may face. They must also ensure that there are equal opportunities for people regardless of any "characteristics" that they may hold, such as what their sexuality might be. In addition to this, they should ensure that there are good relationships between people.

While it would be expected that the majority of employees are accepting of others regardless of whether or not they have different characteristics, employers needs to be aware of and prepared for instances where discrimination may occur. To remain compliant with the law, they need to ensure that workers are not subject to this.