Sexual Orientation in the Workplace

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Ricardo Javier Alexis Cofré Pinto
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This research aims to detect weaknesses in the current Irish legislation that may lead to an employee who identifies as LGBT 1 facing conflicts in the workplace. The study contents three parts. The first part examines the literature on sexual orientation, conflicts in the workplace and compares Ireland and international legislation regarding LGBT employees’ sexual orientation. The second part involves a focus group that discusses with Irish and non-Irish male employees who considered themselves gay their awareness regarding the options available to face conflicts in the workplace. The third part considers a series of personal interviews – eleven in total- which goes more profound in the employees’ awareness, collecting relevant reflections and purposes. Among the main outcomes of this research, it is possible to find: i) A list of the main factors may lead a LGBT employee face conflicts in the workplace such as culture, company policies, and tolerance; ii) A positioning matrix where the main industries are located based on the perception of LGBT employees have regarding their level of tolerance and empathy. Industries such as Fashion, Hospitality, and Accounting are located in the first quadrant (more tolerant, and more empathetic), whereas industries such as Legal, Construction, and Engineering are located in the third quadrant (less tolerant, and less empathetic); iii) A set of suggestions from LGBT employees are turned into a strategic model oriented to ameliorate their experience in the workplace. Finally, it is vital to prevent conflict through effective communication where the company policies are informed since the recruitment process and updated constantly, assuring a comfortable, comprehensive, and supportive workplace. Once the conflict arises, it is critical to take action, depending on the severity 1 LGBT: Acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. Further information in Literature Review.
Cofré, 2021