victimise someone because they made a complaint of discrimination or gave

Victimise someone because they made a complaint of

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victimise someone because they made a complaint of discrimination or gave evidence or information in someone else’s complaint. It is also unlawful for employers to discriminate against an employee because they are in a civil partnership. Civil partners must have equal treatment with married partners. Other same sex partners must have equal treatment with unmarried opposite sex partners. Harassment The most common form of discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay and bisexual workers is harassment. Yet many employers’ policies don’t make specific reference to sexual orientation. There is still a perception that some groups are ‘fair game’. Bisexual workers often face additional prejudice and may feel particularly isolated. They can experience discrimination from both straight and lesbian/gay people. All too often, lesbian, gay and bisexual workers complaining of harassment are accused of being over-sensitive, having no sense of humour, or of ‘bringing it on themselves’ by not hiding their sexual orientation. Most lesbian, gay and bisexual workers fear to even make a Bargaining support group e-mail: [email protected] LGBT group e-mail: [email protected] 3
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L e s b i a n , g ay a n d b i s e x u a l w o r ke r s r i g h t s – M ay 2 0 1 3 complaint. Straight workers may fear reprisals if they complain about homophobia or biphobia. The Equality Act 2010 expressly outlaws harassment related to sexual orientation. It does not matter whether or not a harasser intended their behaviour to be offensive - the effect is just as important. Harassment does not have to be targeted at a particular victim who is known or thought to be LGB. It is enough that homophobic or biphobic language, imagery, gestures, ‘jokes’ or actions violate the dignity of a person and create an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. The perception of the person experiencing harassment must be taken into particular account, alongside other factors, when deciding if harassment has taken place. The Act also forbids sexual harassment – unwelcome sexual advances, touching, sexual assault, sexual ‘jokes’ or materials of a sexual nature that violate a person’s dignity and create an intimidating or offensive environment. An employer is liable if an employee is harassed by a third party (such as client or member of the public) on at least two occasions, though not necessarily by the same person, if the employer is aware the harassment has taken place but failed to take reasonably practicable steps to prevent it happening again. It is useful to remind employers of this when negotiating harassment policies. The Tory-led Government has tabled amendments to repeal this particular provision, but for now is stands. Employers must take positive steps to support and protect all workers from harassment by co-workers, service users and members of the public. This should include well publicised policies, monitored to check their effectiveness, and training of managers and all staff. Branches should
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