Study: Two in five LGBTQ Workers feel bullied at work

CHICAGO — As people across the country wear purple in support of GLAAD’s Spirit Day, which is a means of speaking out against LGBTQ bullying and standing with LGBTQ youth, new research indicates that LGBT workers are facing bullying in an area that should be a safe place – their workplace. Two in five LGBT workers (40 percent) report feeling bullied at work, 11 percentage points higher than the national average of all workers combined. Fifty-six percent of bullied LGBT workers report being bullied repeatedly.

The nationwide survey was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from February 16 to March 9, 2017 among a representative sample of 3,420 full-time workers across industries and company sizes in the U.S, including 238 LGBT workers and 3,215 workers in the private sector.

“Bullying of any kind or of anyone has no place in the workplace – period,” said Michael Erwin, director of corporate communications and social media at CareerBuilder. “Employers have a responsibility to create a safe working environment for all employees. They can minimize this destructive behavior by offering sensitivity training and enforcing anti-bullying policies across their organizations.”

What does bullying look like in today’s workplace? Fifty-three percent of bullied LGBT workers say they were bullied by one person, and 13 percent say it happened in a group setting. Fourteen percent of LGBT bullied workers say they were bullied by someone younger, and 61 percent say they were bullied by someone older.

Among the most common examples of bullying given by LGBT workers who were bullied at work were:

  • Falsely accused of mistakes you didn’t make (61 percent)
  • Ignored – comments were dismissed or not acknowledged (50 percent)
  • Used different standards/policies for you than other workers (49 percent)
  • You were gossiped about (47 percent)
  • Picked on for personal attributes (race, gender, appearance) (42 percent)
  • Constantly criticized by boss or co-workers (40 percent)
  • Someone didn’t perform certain duties, which negatively impacted your work (40 percent)
  • Purposely excluded from projects or meetings (31 percent)
  • Belittling comments were made about your work during meetings (28 percent)

Being bullied can have many effects, many long-lasting, and LGBT workers are feeling the consequences. Of those LGBT workers who were bullied at work, 19 percent have suffered from health-related problems as a result of being bullied at work, and 15 percent have called in sick because of feeling bullied.

Forty-one percent of LGBT workers who have been bullied at work have left a job because they have felt bullied.

Erwin shared the below tips for workers dealing with office bullies.

  • Take notes. Document interactions with the bully. Keep these notes in a private place, and use them if you need to show the bullying pattern to a third party, such as your company’s HR department.
  • Rise above, but don’t be afraid to confront. At first, try to minimize time spent around the bully, and ignore any bullying behavior. But sometimes, enough is enough, and you need to confront them. Explain how the negative treatment makes you feel, and ask them to stop. Sometimes perpetrators are not aware of the effect their actions have. Fifty-three percent of workers who were bullied at work confronted their bully, and 20 percent said the bullying stopped.
  • Bring in the experts. Seventy-two percent of workers who were bullied at work do not report it to HR. Your HR team is trained in dealing with workplace conflict, and can step in to help you solve the issue.

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 3,420 employees (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government including 3,215 in the private sector and 238 LGBT workers) between February 16 and March 9, 2017 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With a pure probability sample of 3,420, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 1.68 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.

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