Pride Month: Steps Employers Should Take in their Workplaces

June 5, 2024

By Bríd Price

June is known for being ‘pride’ month; a month where the LGBTQ+ communities are celebrated. The month also raises awareness of the issues faced by these communities daily, including in the workplace. ‘Pride’ month should remind employers of their legal obligation to ensure their workplaces are free from discrimination.

Our employment law experts share their tips on what employers should be doing to ensure they are not breaching any discrimination laws in terms of sexual orientation and gender reassignment.

What does the law say?

Sexual orientation and gender reassignment are recognised protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. This means that it is unlawful to discriminate against an individual in the workplace because of these characteristics.

The following types of discrimination are prohibited in the workplace:

  1. Direct discrimination: where an employee is treated less favourably because of their sexual orientation/gender reassignment
  2. Indirect discrimination: where a workplace practice disproportionately affects people because of their sexual orientation/gender reassignment
  3. Harassment: treatment of an employee which creates a hostile environment (stemming from their sexual orientation/gender reassignment)
  4. Victimisation: unfair treatment of an employee who has complained of how they are treated in terms of their sexual orientation/gender reassignment

Discrimination in the workplace is prohibited in all aspects of employment; from the initial recruitment process, to treatment of employees on a day-to-day basis, as well as during redundancies and dismissals.

Employees can bring a legal claim against their employer if they are discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender reassignment.

What should employers do?

To avoid any discrimination claims, employers should:

  1. Draft policies which prohibit discrimination and diarise regular reviews of their HR policies and procedures to ensure they remain up-to-date;
  2. Provide training to managers on their anti-discrimination policies and procedures and how to implement them on a practical basis;
  3. Review their recruitment procedures as well as any redundancy or exit schemes to ensure they are inclusive and fair;
  4. Consider obtaining legal advice before dismissing an employee who might be protected by law due to their sexual orientation or gender reassignment;
  5. Deal with any discrimination complaints consistently and fairly;
  6. Maintain an open and transparent communication with employees.

Employers should know that, with certain types of discrimination claims, they need not have intended to discriminate for an employee to bring a claim against them. For this reason, employers should be careful to consider the fairness of a policy or practice, before introducing it in the workplace.


If you require any further advice on any of the above, contact a member of our employment team, Bríd Price on 029 2082 9113 or for a free initial chat to see how we can help you.

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