Survey reveals extent of homophobia at work

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A poll of more than 2,000 people across the UK has found that while nine of ten of them support laws protecting LGB people in the workplace, homophobia is rife.

The Stonewall survey, conducted by YouGov, found that one in six people in the UK had witnessed verbal or physical bullying of gay people at work.

Since 2003, LGB people have been protected against harassment in the workplace by legislation, but there have been relatively few tribunals brought in the last four years.

In July last year Jonah Ditton was awarded £1033 in lost wages by an employment tribunal in Glasgow.

Mr Ditton said that he suffered 8 days of humiliation before he was finally fired by CP Publishing, who produce entertainment guides. He told the tribunal that he had not mentioned that he was gay at his interview with the publishing company, because he felt that he would be less likely to get the £25, 000 a year job.

Yet once he started work at the Glasgow firm, he said that he felt his sexuality immediately became an issue.

The tribunal ruled that director Warren Paul created a “degrading, humiliating and offensive environment” for Mr Ditton.

The former police officer allegedly threatened to send “some police friends to visit” if Mr Ditton contacted the office again after he had been fired for being “psychologically unbalanced”.

The tribunal found CP Publishing guilty of harassment and a breach of equality laws, and said that it was “understandable” that Mr Ditton was “appalled and upset” by the discrimination and abuse that he had experienced.

Alan Wardle, Stonewall’s director of public affairs, said: “We need strong messages from managers that homophobia will not be tolerated.”

The full details of the survey of attitudes in the UK towards LGB people will be published later this week.