How discrimination happens at work

This scale shows the discrimination that happens in workplaces; from subtle and often unintended discrimination to more obvious abusive acts of discrimination. Laws protecting against overt discrimination are important but for LGBTIQ to be able to fully access their rights and flourish in their professions means a broader understanding of how discrimination happens in working environments is needed.

red-arrowMaking LGBTIQ invisible

  • Colleagues and management assuming no LGBTIQ in workplace
  • No mention or promotion of LGBTIQ community, events or issues.
  • No policies covering rights of LGBTIQ or policies not being enforced or discussed.
  • No attempt to be inclusive of LGBTIQ in language or organisational culture. (Silva 2009)
  • Making LGBTIQ invisible can lead to people feeling like it is not safe to be ‘out’ at work, where someone’s preference is to be out and they cannot this can cause considerable stress and disengagement.

arrow2Being denied promotions, opportunities, jobs and chances to network socially.

  • Discrimination at the recruitment stage.
  • Not being seen as the appropriate person to meet with certain clients, represent the organisation or attend training opportunities due to sexuality/ gender Identity
  • Being denied access to informal social networking opportunities that can advance an individuals career , for example use of ‘Old Boys/Girls’ networks to exclude those who are not hetero or cis gendered. (Silva 2009)

arrow3Colleagues discomfort and embarrassment

  • Can be seen where people dont know what language to use or lack confidence to be inclusive, where people hold homo/bi/ trans* phobic attitudes that become apparent in their discomfort or exclusion of LGBTIQ colleagues, this can be closely related to invisibility.
  • Relying on stereotypes to understand LGBTIQ colleagues (eg assuming gay male colleague wont be interested in attending a ‘family event’ open to other employees) (Out @ Wk Paper) or assuming a lesbian colleague is attracted to female coworkers.
  • Assuming all members of LGBTIQ communitiy know each other/share the same values.
  • Colleagues discussing/speculating on LGBTIQ sexual, gender identity, bodies, lives behind their LGBTIQ coworkers backs.
  • Refusal to use the correct language or pronouns
  • Expecting LGBTIQ colleagues to be the only ones who challenge discrimination or promote inclusion.

arrow4Exclusion by homo/bi/trans*phobic comments, ‘jokes’ and insults

  • Thoughtless homo/bi/trans*phobic remarks – ‘That’s so gay’, ‘she looks like a tranny’
  • Using homo/bi/trans* phobia to modify behvaiour: ‘you two look like a couple of poofs the way you are horsing around’
  • Allowing the presence of homo/bi/trans* phobic material in your workplace -e.g. petition against marriage equality.
  • Trying to hurt the target with offensive comments, innuendo and gossip (eg mimicing someone who is transitioning’s voice, making lewd comments about their sex life).

arrow5Harrassment and physical intimidation

This too exists on a spectrum many of which are covered in earlier
categories, including:

  • Micro agressions – witholding information, unfair criticism or allocation of work
  • Physical, sexual or verbal abuse
  • Lewd comments, invasive questioning, inappropriate touching, standover tactics, threats, inciting others to act and generally making workplace hostile for out LGBTIQ workers.

How inclusion happens at work >>

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