According to a study commissioned by Telus (TSX:T), the majority of Canadian businesses do not have clear policies and procedures in place to address LGBTQ discrimination and harassment.
"Canadian business leaders have a responsibility to champion diversity and foster a culture of acceptance, appreciation and inclusiveness within their organizations," said Peter Green, global executive sponsor of Spectrum, Telus' LGBTQ team member resource group, in a press release. "While we have made great strides in this respect, we have much to do."
The study also found 57% of LGBTQ Canadians said they are not fully out at work; 33% have experienced or witnessed discrimination or harassment at work, based on sexual orientation.
One third of all Canadians do not believe their workplace is safe and inclusive for gay and lesbian employees and 45% don’t believe their workplace is safe and inclusive for transgender employees.
The lack of discrimination policy has a negative impact on the community affected, with 15% worried that their sexual orientation may limit career opportunities. One in ten members of the Canadian LGBTQ community are concerned for their personal safety and one in five are concerned about a hostile or unfriendly work environment.
The Telus study also polled the popularity of various solutions to discriminatory environments for the LGBTQ community.
As a whole, Candians believe that anti-harassment and discrimination policy would be the most effective way to fight workplace harassment, with 81% saying it would have a positive affect.
Diversity training was believed to be the second most effective, with 66% saying it would have a positive effect. Half of those polled believed corporate actions showing support for the LGBTQ community would have a positive effect on diversity including taking part in Pride, employee support systems and senior management support of LGBTQ causes and events.
Supporting the LGBTQ community also has positive financial implications for businesses. Almost half of all Canadians are more likely to purchase products and services from companies that support the gay community.
More Canadians are likely to consider working for a business that supports the LGBTQ community, at 56%. Overall, Canadians believe that business should supportive of equal rights, with 68% saying that supporting the LGBTQ community makes business better corporate citizens.