Workplace discrimination 2015-2016 | Háttér Society

Workplace discrimination 2015-2016

research, workplace

Stories beyond the data: Documentation of discrimination in the field of employment

Háttér’s new project, funded by ILGA-Europe, is aimed at complementing the organization’s already existing quantitative research in the field of employment with a qualitative component. The project will use surveys as well as semi-structured interviews and focus groups to gather testimonies and detailed descriptions of discriminatory practices and on how these influence LGBTQI and heterosexual people’s lives and options; provide more data on the situation of trans people in the field of employment; publish best practices; survey and enhance the knowledge of HR personnel; provide new data, more visibility, more arguments to be used in advocacy activities and informing more LGBTQI people on their rights and options.

In 2010, Háttér and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences conducted a research on the situation of LGBTQI people in Hungary. (This project was also funded by ILGA-Europe.) 2110 people responded the section on employment and workplace discrimination. The main findings of the previous research are the following: LGBTQI people often face discrimination in the field of employment; the hetero- and cis-normative atmosphere of workplaces is accompanied by homophobic / transphobic verbal insults, harassment, ostracism and gossiping; because of this, most LGBTQI people decide to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity; many face job promotion discrimination or are dismissed; the homo- and transphobic atmosphere and harassment have a huge impact on people’s ability to fit in and their productivity; very few victims turn to authorities or courts. Besides legal sanctions, more attention should be paid to prevention and the distribution of best practices regarding diversity at workplace. Equal opportunity plans are often put together only to comply with legal requirements, employers do not get professional support and are not motivated in any way to adopt meaningful equal opportunity plans that would bring real changes.

The above-mentioned research in 2010 provided data that are still relevant. However, we need in-depth analyses on how employment discrimination affects LGBTQI people’s lives. The quantitative data shows that trans people are particularly adversely effected by discrimination in the labour market, but there is not enough information about the exact mechanisms in operation. Some sectors of the labour market (schools and the police / armed forces as employers) are particularly prone to heteronormative bias. The role of HR personnel and straight colleagues at the workplace in fighting discrimination is yet to be explored. Further research is needed to analyse these specific topics.

Therefore, the purpose of this project is to gather qualitative data (stories and people’s views on their options and choices) leading to a deeper understanding of discrimination and its effects on people’s lives and productivity, and to enhance our capabilities in advocating for change. This will be done by organizing focus group discussions, conducting interviews and by the application of online questionnaires.

The end product of the research will be a volume to be published online and in print. The volume will be divided in seven chapters and an appendix: chapters 1-5 will focus on the five topics selected for research (the impact of homo- and transphobia on LGBTQI people’s career choices and employment options; especially heteronormative spaces; trans employees: special barriers and needs; the role of heterosexual and cis colleagues; HR personnel), Chapter 6 will focus on good practices, Chapter 7 on recommendations. An appendix will be added to the publication on information for LGBTQI people on what to do in case they experience discrimination.

The publication will be made available for download on the website of Háttér Society, and disseminated via mailing lists, Facebook, and websites of partner organizations. To accompany the publication a blog will be created on LGBTQI issues at the workplace to publish updates from the project as well as related news.

The research phase will end in spring 2016, the publication on its results will be made available by June 2016.

The project has its own blog (in Hungarian):

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