Supporting LGBT+ people
We want everyone to feel comfortable at work.
We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer. Our fairness, inclusion and respect programme is focused on ensuring everyone is valued for their contribution, no matter what their age, race, gender or sexual orientation.
We know that the construction industry is not as supportive of people who are LGBT+ as it should be.
“Over half of LGBT people employed in engineering are choosing to remain in the closet through fear of the impact coming out and homophobia would have on their professional careers.”
If people don’t feel comfortable or safe to be ‘out’ at work, they feel they must watch the way they speak and act to hide their true selves. That impacts on their productivity and also on their mental health.
What do we mean by LGBT+?
Some people (for example those who are non-binary – who do not identify as either male or female) add ‘queer’ ie LGBTQ, but others do not like any of these terms, so it has become acceptable to add + to ensure that everyone is included. We are encouraging gender-neutral pronouns (‘they’ instead of ‘him’ or ‘her’) at VGC to make sure that everyone feels comfortable.
- 19 per cent of lesbian, gay and bi employees have experienced verbal bullying from colleagues, customers or service users because of their sexual orientation
- 26 per cent of lesbian, gay and bi workers are not at all open to colleagues about their sexual orientation (figures from Stonewall)
- LGBT+ people are significantly more likely to suffer a range of mental health problems, including higher rates of self-harm and suicide (“I Exist” survey by the LGBT Foundation in 2011)
We are driving a specific campaign to clarify to everyone working for or with VGC that we will not tolerate any discrimination on the grounds of gender identity, sexual orientation, or transitioning, just as we will not tolerate discrimination on the grounds of any of the nine protected characteristics. If you experience or witness inappropriate behaviour, please report it immediately to your line manager or using our online whistleblowing form.
You might like to watch a useful ACAS video on the nine protected characteristics.