LONDON, July 3, 2008 – A pioneering Stonewall report
which, for the first time, outlines a compelling business case for good
practice around sexual orientation in the workplace, is to be launched by
Secretary of State for Business John Hutton later this afternoon in London.
The study, based on more than one hundred in-depth
interviews with lesbian, gay and bisexual people from 21 public and private
sector organisations, found that participants almost universally reported a
positive link between workplace climate and their own productivity and
performance. The research was sponsored by IBM.
“Lesbian and gay respondents who feel able to be out at
work, and well supported by their employers, reported that they are
significantly more effective, more motivated and built better working
relationships with colleagues,” Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill
said this morning.
“This is a powerful lesson for employers across Britain.
Lesbian and gay equality at work evidently makes good business sense.”
Interviewees, who ranged from partners to administrative
staff, identified that robust, inclusive policies, employee network groups,
senior lesbian and gay role models and expressions of commitment to lesbian
and gay employees from senior leaders are all ways that significantly
encourage gay staff to perform better because they can be themselves.
Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme, promoting good
practice around sexual orientation in the workplace, is soon to announce its
The largest diversity forum in Britain, its members now
employ more than four million people between them.
Tellingly, most participants in the research firmly
declined to identify their own workplace in the report.
“This is stark evidence that lesbian and gay staff still
don’t feel comfortable enough in their working environment,” Mr. Summerskill
“Workplaces can still do more to be supportive and
welcoming of potential lesbian and gay recruits.
“In an increasingly competitive labour market, employers
who don’t take lesbian and gay equality seriously, risk losing out to those
Observations from lesbian and gay staff included in the
● ‘You’d have to pay me a lot more than I get paid here
to go somewhere else. I just feel very comfortable here and I feel very
accepted. I feel very loyal to the organisation.’
● ‘If I’m not out at work, I spend more time trying to
conceal my home life and therefore not concentrating on my job.’
● ‘It’s really great management. I feel at the moment
I’ve got absolutely no desire to look elsewhere for work.’
● ‘I have the experience with my current manager where I
feel very unsupported around some homophobic things. I am very conscious of
the impact of that on my work.’
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Posted: 3 July 2008 at
12:00 (UK time)