Fear of losing job prevents reporting discrimination

According to the report titled “LGBTI+ Individuals Employed in the Private Sector”; LGBTI+ employees can’t access their rights against discrimination because they fear they may lose their jobs and face new problems if they reveal their gender identity.

Source: “Fear of losing job prevents reporting discrimination(“İşini kaybetme korkusu ayrımcılığı bildirmeyi engelliyor”), Yıldız Tar, kaosgl.org, April 20, 2018, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=25639

A recently published report by Kaos GL focuses on “the situation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Individuals employed in the private sector in 2017”.

This report reveals that only 17% of the LGBTI+ employees are completely ‘out’ and 65% of them had to either deal with discrimination in the workplace or had to hide their identity. In addition to statistical figures, the LGBTI+ employees’ stories and testimonies are also included in the report. These explanations unveil what they have experienced in the private sector.

The participants were asked questions like: “Did you inform the union or the judicial authorities about the discriminatory incidents you’ve been exposed to? How did the process go/develop? If you didn’t, why?”

According to the survey, the authorities were not notified of any incident involving direct or indirect discrimination, a potential discriminatory environment or the need for supportive intervention.

“Fear of losing jobs and the possibility of having to pay a higher cost prevent reporting discrimination.”

In the survey, the situation is explained like this:

“Generally speaking, the attitude represented by our participants against discrimination at the workplace is consistent with the results of our last year’s survey. LGBTI+ employees can’t seek their rights against discrimination because they may lose their jobs, there is the possibility of having to pay a higher cost, fear of revealing their gender identity, the difficulties they may face out of work and other similar reasons. A significant finding is the lack of belief in protecting institutions regarding the protection of their rights against discrimination for LGBTI+ employees. The reason behind this can be the inadequacy in either institutional or legal approaches. For many LGBTI+ employees struggling with discrimination in the workplace may result in severe discrimination or in some situations for them to experience anxiety outside of the workplace and means that many remain silent.

The stories: I didn’t apply, because…

The testimonies in this research reveal the difficulties LGBTI+ employees experience when reporting a discriminative act:

“I made a report to the company’s management. I continued being exposed to transphobia; but unfortunately, I chose to keep quiet because I was afraid I’d lose my job.” (a heterosexual trans man working as an expert in the construction/architecture sector)

“I think it’s pointless to report such incident because we are working for the bosses in the union that I’m affiliated with.” (a gay man working as a worker in the food industry)

“No, in such situation my family would find out too.” (a gay man working as service staff in the entertainment industry)

“I didn’t apply because I don’t believe I can get a result out of it and the law of this country is not equal for everybody.” (a bisexual man working as service staff in the retail sector)

Having to hide oneself is discrimination too

Here are some examples of the responses of the participants who declared that in order not be exposed to discrimination they had to hide their gender identity:

“Should we report or continue hiding? Even if the authorities were informed, it is not hard to guess how painful the procedure would be and how one would be dragged into disappointment.” (a bisexual woman working as a specialist in the health sector)

“I didn’t inform the judicial authorities because I thought I didn’t have enough information and that the result wouldn’t be positive.” (a gay man working as a middle-level manager in an NGO)

“Even if I face it, I don’t think I can find a solution.” (a lesbian woman working as an assistant specialist in banking/finance sector)

The research for 2018 has started.

Work on the questionnaire for 2018’s report has started. This year the study is being conducted together with the Centre for Gender and Women’s Research at Kadir Has University.

This questionnaire consists of 24 questions and promises confidentiality for LGBTI+ employees. This questionnaire does not ask for a name or the company’s name and provides a better understanding of the specific priorities and needs of LGBTI+ employees and companies which take up the cause for gender mainstreaming.

After this information is analysed, an evaluation report will be prepared by comparing it with similar examples in the USA and Germany.

The comparative report will create information on awareness raising and capacity building activities for the private sector and civil society. The report will also provide encourage the development of employment gender equality policies for LGBTI+ employees.

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