Competency is lost in an unstable labour market

Opinion articlesRFSL

That many LGBTI people (lesbians, gays, trans people and intersex people) fear being discriminated against at work is a big problem. Important competence risks being lost if people feel unsafe or don't thrive in their workplace. The solution is to act preventatively to counteract discrimination and harassment. Vision and RFSL expect the employers of the country to step up to the challenge.

Juli 30 2020

Vision and RFSL both work actively to promote a humane working life and a society where everybody can experience job satisfaction, contribute their knowledge and be themselves. We both participate in Pride celebrations which this summer, due to the pandemic, are digital or have been extremely scaled-down. A lot of work remains to make workplaces inclusive. That is, not least, made clear by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights’ report on LGBTI people’s living conditions. The report is based on the biggest survey of its kind in the world with nearly 140 000 LGBTI respondents in EU member states and Great Britain, Serbia and Northern Macedonia, of which 2 500 are from Sweden. The survey shows that fear, violence and discrimination are still part of the everyday life of many homosexuals, bisexuals, trans people and intersex people in Europe. The survey also shows that trans people and intersex people are most vulnerable.

The answers from the Swedish respondents show that 42 percent avoid holding their partner’s hand in public, 31 percent say that they have been harassed during the year preceding the survey, and 15 percent have felt discriminated against at their workplace during the year preceding the survey. The results indicate both an unacceptable and unsustainable situation. No one should have to worry about, or be subjected to, derogatory jokes or comments at their workplace, and no one should have to be afraid of being discriminated against. Therefore, we have to talk about norms, how we view differences and what we want our workplaces to be like. It’s an issue that must be prioritised both by unions and employers, and where not least the management should take the lead. There are many good tools, for example existing regulations in the discrimination act that demand active measures. The regulations call for increased responsibility for employers to systematically investigate, analyse and rectify differences in the workplace. As well as overseeing the systematic working environment work that focuses on the organisational and social working environment.

Vision and RFSL urge employers to:

  • work proactively in accordance with the discrimination act’s demands for active efforts and to cooperate with unions,
  • raise the competence-level about, primarily, trans and intersex people among managers and co-workers, and
  • give the management the preconditions to work for increased diversity through, for example, competence-development and time for leadership.

We are convinced that we can do even more to create workplaces for everybody, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, where everybody’s competence contributes to development and where there is no discrimination or harassment. The Swedish labour market craves competence, but the competence risks being lost because people are inhibited, subject to discrimination and harassment and prevented from developing their full potential. This is an enormous waste of resources that Sweden cannot afford.

Debattartikeln publicerades i Aftonbladet den 30 juli 2020

Veronica Magnusson, förbundsordförande Vision
Deidre Palacios, förbundsordförande RFSL