Ireland: More than one in four gay employees have been harassed at work

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Research released today shows more than a quarter of gay and bisexual employees say they have been harassed at work in Ireland.

The Working It Out report, commissioned by the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, also found over 10% of gay workers have quit a job because of discrimination.

590 gay and bisexual employees were surveyed for the study by experts at Trinity College Dublin.

Respondents spoke of the stress caused by having to conceal their sexual orientation at work, with new employees being twice as likely to not disclose their sexual orientation as longer standing employees.

The EY Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Network (EYGLES) supported the research.

Mike McKerr, managing partner at EY, said: “Businesses have evolved their thinking about diversity over the last number of years. It’s no longer simply about levelling the playing field and providing equal opportunities.

“Truly diverse companies recognise, celebrate, and embrace difference. We believe this creates stronger businesses and competitive advantage in attracting and retaining LGBT professionals, critical for better innovation and business performance.”

The Working It Out report found that employers who demonstrated a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion had an advantage in attracting gay candidates. Two out of three people surveyed were open about their sexual orientation at work and 90% of these reported no negative impact on their relationships with colleagues.

The research also found that employees who were out at work were more committed to their employer than employees who were not out.

Co-author Brian McIntyre said: “The report explores the lived experience of 590 Irish LGB employees regarding their decisions to disclose or not to disclose their sexual orientation at work, and their experiences in the Irish workplace. It also provides valuable insight into how companies can drive improved business performance by fully engaging their lesbian, gay and bisexual employees.”