Tackling LGBT and disability discrimination in the workplace – an Intersectional approach

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Conference
2018 National Disabled Members' Conference
Date
6 July 2018
Decision

Conference notes that disabled people face many challenges in the workplace but this is compounded when disabled workers are also lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).

The recent Stonewall publication ‘LGBT in Britain – Work Report’ found:

• Disabled LGBT workers are one and a half times more likely to face harassment and discrimination in the workplace compared to LGBT staff in general

• Almost two in ten disabled LGBT employees (19%) say they didn’t get a promotion they were up for at work in the past year because they are LGBT

• 43% of disabled LGBT people have hidden or disguised that they are LGBT at work in the last year because they were afraid of discrimination

• 9% of disabled LGBT people say they have lost a job in the last year because of being LGBT

• One in five (20%) of disabled LGBT workers say that they were encouraged to hide or disguise that they are LGBT by a work colleague compared to 9% of non-disabled LGBT workers

• One in four disabled LGBT workers (26%, higher than the 18% of LGBT workers in general) have been the target of negative comments or conduct from work colleagues in the last year because they are LGBT.

• 24% of disabled LGBT staff were excluded from social events by colleagues in the last year for being LGBT

• One in five disabled LGBT people (21%) say they don’t feel able to be themselves at work.

On every measure disabled LGBT staff experience significantly more discrimination in the workplace than LGBT people in general, where discrimination is already high. Where workers are Black and/or trans the discrimination is further compounded. There are also additional challenges for young disabled LGBT workers and for disabled women workers who are LGBT.

Conference believes that there are a number of measures that could help improve workplaces for disabled LGBT people but it is essential to take an intersectional approach to workplace equality, recognising that many disabled workers also experience additional discrimination based on their race, sexual orientation, gender identity and other factors.

Conference therefore calls on the National Disabled Members Committee, working with the National LGBT Committee, other self organised groups and National Young Members Forum where appropriate, to:

1. Raise awareness of the specific challenges faced by disabled LGBT workers and consider developing resources to assist branches in negotiating on behalf of these members

2. Work with UNISON’s service groups to include mandatory, cross-organisation and intersectionally aware anti-discrimination training on their bargaining agendas

3.Continue to work towards developing a model reasonable adjustment ‘passport’ and update and publicise UNISON’s Disability Leave factsheet and model policy, ensuring issues of intersectionality are highlighted where appropriate.