Published: 27/01/2020

Employees spend a lot of time in the workplace – and there you are never just a worker, but always a human being. Therefore, nobody should have to hide for who “he” or “she” is or who they love. Because that is not only what defines us as a person, it is also what enriches our relationship with our colleagues and characterizes a good working atmosphere. Only in a good working atmosphere can employees perform their work with joy and commitment – and do not have to waste their energy on hiding or fighting back.

A non-discriminatory working atmosphere creates a high level of job satisfaction, strengthens employee loyalty and promotes collegial cooperation. This leads to better communication, less sick leave and lower employee turnover.

It is therefore also in the company’s interest that openness and mutual respect prevail in the company and that no one is treated unfairly.

Works councils and staff representatives are primary contacts when it comes to sexual discrimination in the workplace. Trade unions must also address this issue through equality rules in collective agreements. A brochure – which is now also available in German – illustrates how this can be done. In addition to practical tips and examples, for example for non-discriminatory collective agreements, the brochure also contains a lot of other interesting information about the rights of LGBTQI people worldwide and about discrimination in the workplace. The abbreviation LGBTQI stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgenic, queer and intersexual people.

First meeting of the LGBTQI workers’ steering group
The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) hosted an international conference in Vienna in 2018 to discuss the concerns of LGBTQI workers. A selected coordination group has existed in the IUF since November 2019, and Gerhard Riess from the PRO-GE trade union is a member.

For Austria, the Chamber of Labor commissioned a study in 2018 on the work situation of the approximately 200,000 to 300,000 LGBTQI people employed. The results presented in a nutshell: Public acceptance and the legal situation in Austria have improved significantly in recent decades. However ensuring that sexual orientations and gender identities do not play a role in the workplace today remains only a wish.

The 1,300 LGBTQI people surveyed already shows statistically significant deviations from the total population. With only five percent of the LGBTQI people surveyed, workers are strongly underrepresented. Around one in five said they concealed sexual orientation and gender identity at work. Although legal equality is hardly questioned, around 60 percent of the respondents have been affected by rumors, obscene jokes or exclusion, and around 30 percent of the respondents have also experienced professional disadvantages.

Please find the original news story on the PRO-GE website here (in German).