Transgender staff omitted from 80% of top firms’ non-discrimination policies

© Luke MacGregor
An overwhelming 80 percent of Britain’s biggest companies fail to include transgender staff in their non-discrimination policies, startling new research has found.

Compiled by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) network OUTstanding, the figures were derived from a review of FTSE 100 firms’ annual reports.

OUTstanding’s research concluded a vast majority of large UK firms are failing to demonstrate commitment to supporting LGBT employees in the workplace, particularly transgender staff.

While 99 percent of the top UK firms listed in the FTSE 100 were found to reference diversity as an important policy issue, 80 percent neglected to mention non-discrimination policies for transgender staff. Some 47 percent of these firms also failed to reference protection policies for gay, lesbian or bisexual employees.

Of those firms that did mention specially tailored LGBT policies, only 14 percent put these in writing, the research reveals.

OUTstanding CEO Dr Neil Bently warned large numbers of substantial firms are failing Britain’s LGBT community.

“With so many businesses facing skills shortages, companies cannot afford to be complacent and should be using every opportunity to tell their story about inclusion to attract and retain the very best talent,” he said.

“From my own experience, I know that there are many enlightened CEOs who value diversity. In fact, 62 percent of our members say LGBT issues have been publically discussed by their CEO.

“It’s vital that more businesses – including all those in the FTSE 100 – consider their attitude to LGBT inclusion as an asset, worth reporting.”

In a separate poll of more than 200 LGBT executives, 62 percent of the respondents said LGBT issues had been openly discussed by their CEO. The survey, which was also conducted by OUTstanding, found that 62 percent of those polled had an LGBT role model in their “executive leadership team.”

However, only 39 percent made reference to a role model at board room level.

Commenting on the poll’s findings, Dr Bentley said LGBT role models drive inclusion in the workplace.

“It is fantastic to hear that visible role models are helping to drive LGBT inclusion forwards – they are vital in helping create an environment where all LGBT employees can succeed,” he said.

“Although in terms of measuring and reporting, clearly there is more to do to get to a thorough understanding of the size of the LGBT workforce. After all, what gets measured gets managed.”