Minister to speak at workplace equality conference

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Leading employers in Scotland will discuss how to tackle homophobia in the workplace at a conference in Edinburgh tomorrow.

The event, organised by gay equality organisation Stonewall Scotland, will also aim to raise awareness of employment law on sexual orientation.

The Scottish Minister for Communities and Sport, Stewart Maxwell, is set to address the conference.

Workplace research has demonstrated that 36 per cent of gay employees will change careers in the face of continued discrimination and one in three conceal their sexual orientation from their employers and co-workers.

Sponsored by Bank of Scotland Corporate, tomorrow’s conference is the first of its kind in Scotland.

It will feature talks from leading employers, including Lothian and Borders Police Force, the most gay-friendly employer in Scotland according to Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index, as well as workshops and a mock employment tribunal.

Mr Maxwell said:

“The Scottish Government is committed to equality and inclusion in the workplace and is delighted to support Stonewall Scotland and the Diversity Champions scheme.

“The benefits of diversity for business are considerable.

“Research has shown that the more diverse an economy, the more innovative, high growth and successful it is at attracting talented people.

“This Government is committed to promoting diversity and equality for LGBT people, not only in the workplace, but across all areas of Scottish society.”

Calum Irving, Director, Stonewall Scotland said:

“The Conference is a great opportunity to find out more about lesbian and gay equality in the workplace.

“It’s about learning how to get the most from all your staff, and attracting the very best talent at a time when recruitment is harder than ever.

“Half of all gay people in Edinburgh aren’t out to all their colleagues.

“But people who are out at work are more productive and earn 50 percent more than those who don’t feel able to be out at work.

“Homophobia is damaging to individuals and expensive for employers.”