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How to Avoid Sexual Orientation Discrimination in the Workplace

workplace discrimination , blog , candidate , job search , workplace , company culture
How to avoid sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace

Here at Swanstaff we are very big on providing equal opportunities for all (in fact, it’s one of our core values). Unfortunately, even in 2019, many hardworking LGBT professionals face discrimination, unemployment, wage gaps and a lack of legal protection just because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Though much improvement has been made in recent years in the form of anti-discrimination legislation, there is still a lot of progress to be made until everyone experiences fairness and equality in the workplace, regardless of sexuality.

Therefore, (in light of Pride Month) we have put together 5 easy steps your organisation can take to avoid sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace.

#1 – Apply the platinum rule

Using the golden rule is normally the way things go, “treat others the way you would like to be treated”, however this cannot be the case for each individual, so why not use the Platinum rule of “treat others how they want to be treated”. This lowers the chances of conflict and discrimination in the workplace.

#2 – Continuously update anti-discrimination policies

Employers should update their anti-discrimination policies on a regular basis. Employers should also ensure that their employees are actually reading and taking in these policies before signing it. This would allow employees to understand what is and isn’t appropriate behaviour.

#3 – Provide regular training to employees

Okay so this may be an obvious one, however it is crucial that you cover all aspects of sexuality/gender discrimination training. This includes bystander training. Bystander training is teaching employees what to do if it’s not happening to them but they witness and see it happening to someone else.

#4 – Provide separate training for Managers

This may seem unnecessary but hear us out; employees should know how to report discrimination but managers need to know how to deal with it. This means having separate training on how to deal with challenging situations in the workplace.

#5 – Don’t let the smaller things slide

Now, obviously we understand that any discrimination is discrimination, but there can be different levels of it. Managers should not let the lower levels of it slide and ignore it. This can open doors for the situation to escalate to serious discrimination incidents.


  • Almost 1 in 5 LGBT staff (18%) has been the target of negative comments or conduct from work colleagues in 2018 because they're LGBT.
  • 1 in 8 Transsexual people (12%) have been physically attacked by customers or colleagues in 2018 because of being Transsexual.
  • Almost 1 in 5 LGBT people (18%) who were looking for work said they were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity while trying to get a job in 2018.
  • 1 in 8 black, Asian and minority ethnic LGBT employees (12 %) have lost a job in 2018 because of being LGBT, compared to four per cent of white LGBT staff.
  • Almost 2 in 5 Bi-sexual people (38%) aren’t out to anyone at work about their sexual orientation.
  • More than a third of LGBT staff (35%) have hidden or disguised that they are LGBT at work in 2018 because they were afraid of discrimination.

(These stats have been taken from the Stone Wall website, please click here to see all statistics)

The most important thing to remember is that legislation changes regularly and new ways of defining Sexual Orientation emerge so it is vital that your HR department keeps on track with changes and passes this information on to the SMT and wider employee network. 

ACAS have a free workplace guide available for Employers Click here to download it.

You should also check out our Gender Bias in Recruitment Blog here

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