Stonewall was commissioned by the Department of Health to consider the ways inwhich harassment and homophobia against employees manifest themselves in thehealth and social care sector. Through in-depth interviews and emailcorrespondence, Stonewall heard from 21 people working in a range of jobsthroughout the sector. Participants for the research were recruited through tradeunions and associations (Social Services Research Group, UNISON, the BMA, theRCN and the RCM), professional networks (GLADD), letters to the lesbian and gaypress, Stonewall’s e-bulletin, and online message boards.The purpose of the research was to consider the nature rather than the extent ofhomophobia in the health and social care sector. The report is not intended to berepresentative of all lesbian, gay and bisexual employees nor indicative of a universalexperience. The participants reflect a small number of staff who have faceddiscrimination at work, yet the participants are drawn from a range of locations andwork in a variety of sectors. Their experiences suggest that deep-rooteddiscriminatory practices do occur across the sector, notwithstanding examples ofgood practice in many places.This report looks at some of the incidents and experiences that are happening todayand begins to consider how homophobia manifests itself, the barriers which precludeemployers from responding to, and preventing incidents, and the subsequent longterm implications of this. It makes recommendations as to how the health and socialcare sector can improve working conditions for lesbian, gay and bisexual staff.Homophobia, bullying and harassment have an unequivocal impact on staffperformance. If lesbian, gay and bisexual staff feel unable to be themselves, this canresult in low morale, stress, anxiety, and poor performance. Treating somebodydifferently because of their sexual orientation has an overall impact on theeffectiveness of the health and social care sector. It costs the organisation: staff mayleave the sector, they go on long-term sick leave, and they may not perform aseffectively. Laws protecting lesbian, gay and bisexual staff have now been in placefor nearly four years. In addition, ensuring the rights of staff are upheld is a legalimperative for the sector. Managers have a responsibility to be aware of this issue.Last year, Stonewall produced a report
Reporting homophobia in the health sector
This report provides a detailed analysis of what constitutes discrimination andhomophobia and provides recommendations about how to respond to it, and preventit. Those working in the sector, who want to fulfil their legal duties to protect staff, willfind useful information in the report.