A new United Nations study has revealed that LGBTI face extremely high rates of bullying and discrimination in the workplace.
The report surveyed 1,571 people. It found 21% of respondents in China faced bullying and discrimination because of their sexual and/or gender identity. In the Philippines 30% faced problems while 23% did in Thailand.
People in those countries reported a range of negative experiences in the workplace. Some of those negative experiences included; making jokes about LGBTI people, spreading rumors, or making critical comments.
‘Access to decent work forms an essential part of LGBTI people’s lives and is deeply intertwined with their socio-economic empowerment and ability to participate in the public sphere,’ said Jaco Cilliers, Chief Policy and Programme Support at UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub.
‘Discrimination towards LGBTI people in the workplace also represents a fundamental challenge to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s commitment to “leave no one behind”.’
The report’s authors made concrete recommendations for governments, the private sector, civil society, multilateral agencies and non-government organizations to take action.
Productivity goes up when workplaces are inclusive
A concerning amount of respondents said they had been denied employment. In China 10% of respondents had that experience. But the numbers were significantly higher in the Philippines and Thailand at 21% and 28% respectively.
More than two-thirds said they had seen a job advertisement that explicitly excludes their sexual and gender identity.
‘Employers should recognize that being LGBTI-inclusive is not only a good practice, but also makes great business sense, and can establish a competitive advantage over other companies that are not inclusive,’ said Kofi Amekudzi, Senior Technical Specialist at International Labour Office (ILO).
The ILO partnered with the United Nations to undertake the study.
‘LGBTI inclusion in the workplace means respecting the rights of LGBTI people to work, and to work with dignity and with their human rights valued,’ Amekudzi said.
The evidence shows that the few workplaces that have LGBTI-inclusive policies have seen positive impacts.
The higher number of protective policies correlates with less experience of workplace discrimination. But importantly it also leads to higher levels of reported job satisfaction among LGBTI people.
A more open and affirming workplace is likely to encourage satisfaction. It will also create greater loyalty among rainbow employees, lead to greater productivity and improve the corporate image.