Monday, February 18, 2008

Social Enterprise Tackles Discrimination in Wales

Last week saw a landmark ruling for all LGBT people, especially those living and working in Wales after the Bishop of Hereford was made to pay £47,345 in compensation to John Reaney, the gay man who brought a claim of discrimination claim against him.

The case of John Reaney, showed how LGBT people are still discriminated against in employment and how difficult it is for people not just to be aware of what their rights are, but also to access the support they need to fight for justice.

Research from Out Now Consulting shows that as many as 1 in 10 gay men and 1 in 8 lesbians have been harassed at work in the past year because of their sexual orientation.

Looking at the total number of sexual orientation cases in the UK, this could mean that out of a minimum of 405,000 LGBT people discriminated in employment (based on Treasury figures), not even 1% of cases get to employment tribunals.

An ACAS report published last year that analysed the cases brought to employment tribunals between 2004 and 2006 under the Sexual Orientation Regulations, told us that in a quarter of cases the claim was withdrawn and in around half a settlement was reached before the tribunal.

This means that there is a huge gap between the amount of people that get discriminated and those that actually access justice and enforce their rights.

Whether this lack of rights awareness amongst LGBT people or lack of duty of care by employers throughout the UK, the LGBT Excellence Centre Wales has been able to support individuals that have been discriminated with free counselling and legal advice as well as providing training services to organisations that want be better at delivering equality and diversity in the workplace.

The LGBT Excellence Centre, who exhibited at the Whateverybusinessneeds – Live conference Llantrisant Business Park on 13th and 14th February and providing advice to businesses throughout Wales and the UK, is urging employers throughout Wales to look at addressing the needs of LGBT people at work as a way to ensure greater returns from their staff and avoid the costs of potential tribunals brought against them.

Federico Podeschi, Managing Director of the social enterprise, said: “We are delighted to bring our expertise to businesses in Wales and to be able to invest our resources to deliver free help to people that like John Reaney have to put up with less favourable treatment because of their sexual orientation. We believe that inequality can be easily addressed by any organisation that is willing to make a difference to also support and value LGBT people in their workforce”.

For further information and queries, organisations as well as individuals that need support around LGBT issues or discrimination can contact the LGBT Excellence Centre on 01792 468333 or via

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