Can employers ask about your sexuality?

It is not mandatory to disclose your sexuality to your employer. During recruitment, some employers may ask about sexual orientation as part of their equal opportunity procedures, but this information will usually be anonymized, and you are not required to respond to any of the questions.

Members of the LGBTQ+ community are doubtful about sharing their sexual orientation with coworkers or coming out at work, due to concerns about sexual orientation discrimination or unconscious bias in the workplace. According to LinkedIn data, 55% of respondents would rather not disclose their sexual orientation to their employer. Of the 45% who said they’d tell their employer, 26% said they’d do so at interview time, 3% after being hired, and 16% after getting settled into the position.

How is sexual orientation protected?

The Equality Act 2010 states that sexual orientation is a protected characteristic. This implies that it’s against the law for your employer to treat you differently because of this. There are several instances in the workplace where sexual orientation bias may be apparent, such as:

  • Recruitment
  • Promotions
  • T&Cs
  • Opportunities
  • Treatment
  • Pay and pensions
  • Redundancy and dismissal

In some jurisdictions, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited. It’s crucial to note that if someone thinks you’re gay, lesbian, or bisexual and treats you badly as a result of their belief, it’s still unlawful prejudice – no matter how accurate their assumption is.

Whether or not you talk about your sexuality with your employer will not necessarily prevent you from bringing a discrimination lawsuit. It’s possible that if an individual treated you unfairly because of a protected characteristic, or has no intention to discriminate against you but makes remarks or takes actions regarding your sexual orientation that cause you distress, you have grounds for a discrimination complaint. However, because a lot depends on your personal circumstances, we recommend consulting with an employment law expert in the first instance. You only have a specific amount of time to file an employment discrimination claim, so don’t put off doing so.

If you feel compelled to reveal your sexual orientation at work, you may arrange a meeting with your supervisor, another manager that you can trust, or a member of the HR staff. Alternatively, if it’s more comfortable for you to simply notify others about it in casual conversation, go for it.

The most essential thing is to do what’s best for you, in your own time.

What should you do if you are being treated poorly because of your sexuality?

Sexual orientation is a protected characteristic in the United Kingdom. Yet, according to research from LGBTQ+ support network Stonewall, 12% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual workers are hesitant to report homophobic or biphobic harassment to their employer.

Nobody should be subjected to workplace homophobia. It’s critical to fight for your rights and challenge homophobia and unconscious bias in the workplace.

A discrimination lawyer will be able to tell you whether you have a case and will walk you through the procedure of filing a discrimination claim step by step. You only have three months (minus one day) from the date of the last discriminatory act to start the process.

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