Workplace Challenges Still Commonplace for LGBTQ Canadians
we need to provide better support to all employees
Major forward steps have been made towards equal equality in recent years, but according to one recent study commissioned by TELUS, LGBTQ entrepreneurs and employees still face a lot of obstacles in the professional world.
providing better support for lgbt canadians
The study was commissioned to examine how the Canadian workforce can provide better support for LGBTQ inclusiveness and diversity. It highlighted the many challenges that LGBTQ Canadians faced in their places of work, and it discovered that 57 percent of LGBTQ Canadians are still not fully “out” at work.
and the data shows...
The study further broke that percentage down into the three main reasons for this: 22 percent of the 57 percent worried that coming out would create a hostile and unfriendly work environment, 15 percent felt that their work opportunities would be limited, and 10 percent actually feared for their personal safety.
The study also showed that one third of Canadians don’t feel that their workplace is an inclusive and safe environment for LGBTQ.
Only 43 percent of Canadians said that they were aware of clear policies and procedures put in place by their employers to address discriminatory or harassing actions against LGBTQ employees.
A shocking 30 percent of LGBTQ respondents reported having experienced or witnessed transphobic and homophobic discrimination or harassment at work, and only about half of those incidents had ever been reported.
discrimination takes many forms, often unintentional
Colin Druhan, the executive director of Pride at Work Canada wasn’t surprised by the study’s results. Druhan went on to clarify that by saying, “people don’t understand that a lot of the [discrimination] that happens in the workplace isn’t necessarily overt… It’s more insidious or ingrained in the workplace culture.” He went on to further explain that forms of discrimination could include using inappropriate language, subconsciously overlooking people for promotions based on their gender or sexual identity, and in general making false assumptions about LGBTQ employees.
supportive employers = positive public perception
The TELUS study not only highlighted the obstacles facing LGBTQ Canadians, it also discovered a link between an employer’s support of the LGBTQ community and the positive impact it had on the Canadian population’s perceptions of their company. The percentage of respondents who thought that businesses that support the LGBTQ community better understood the needs of their customers was 64 per cent of all Canadians surveyed (86 per cent of LGBTQ Canadians surveyed); and the percentage of respondents who felt that businesses that are supportive of the LGBTQ community are better corporate citizens was 68 per cent of all Canadian respondents (88 per cent of LGBTQ Canadian respondents).
This recent survey isn’t the first time that TELUS has shown support for their LGBTQ employees. TELUS support dates back to the early nineties, when the company introduced same sex benefits long before it was the law in Canada.
Peter Green, senior vice-president, Business Solutions West, Sales at TELUS and Global Executive Sponsor of Spectrum, TELUS' LGBTQ team member resource group addressed the recent study by saying, "It's imperative that all Canadians - regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, culture or abilities - feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work and sharing their personalities and uniqueness with confidence and trust that they will be respected and valued.” Green also went on to point out that, "Embracing diversity and inclusiveness isn't just the right thing to do; it can also provide a significant competitive advantage. In a world of increasing competition and customer choice, a diverse and inclusive environment introduces new perspectives and fuels innovation.”
The real question is, why isn't everyone on the same page here?
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