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Creating an Inclusive Workplace for LGBTIQA+ People

At the Working Women’s Centre SA, we believe in promoting diverse and inclusive workplaces that value and respect the rights of all individuals, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer (or questioning), and asexual (LGBTIQA+) peoples. An inclusive workplace not only fosters a sense of belonging and equality but also enhances productivity and overall job satisfaction. This fact sheet aims to provide information on what an inclusive workplace looks like for LGBTIQA+ individuals, offering practical steps for organisations to create a supportive and welcoming environment for all employees.


Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination:

  • Develop and enforce a comprehensive anti-discrimination policy that explicitly includes sexual orientation, gender identity, and intersex status and a complaints/grievance process for the making of complaints in relation to any discrimination. The policy should also outline that discrimination on these grounds is unlawful.
  • Ensure that recruitment, hiring, promotion, and termination processes are fair, accessible, transparent, psychologically safe and free from bias.  LGBTQIA+ people need to be recruited to senior decision-making positions and all decision makers need to have relevant training.
  • Provide equal opportunities for professional development and career advancement, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Understanding, acknowledging, and integrating into policy, the experiences of employees with intersecting identities.
  • Offering secure, permanent job opportunities to current and prospective LGBTQIA+ employees.
  • Ensuring that LGBTQIA+ employees are employed in senior decision-making positions to position them with the authority to make change.
  • Acknowledging and valuing lived experiences of LGBTQIA+ current and prospective employees.


Identity and Expression:

  • Recognise and respect employees’ self-identified gender identities and preferred names/pronouns.
  • Establish policies that support gender transition processes, including restroom and dress code accommodations.
  • Offer training to educate staff on transgender and gender diverse issues, fostering understanding and sensitivity.


Inclusive Policies and Benefits:

  • Provide gender-neutral parental leave policies that are inclusive of LGBTIQA+ families.
  • LGBTQIA+ inclusive menstrual leave policies, that acknowledge not all menstruators are women.
  • Provide Domestic and family violence leave policies that are LGBTQIA+ inclusive.
  • Review existing policies and ensure they do not inadvertently discriminate against LGBTIQA+ individuals.
  • Provide gender affirmation leave policies and practices which ensure simple processes for gender affirmation needs (e.g., changing name).
  • Create and develop policies in consultation with LGBTQIA+ employees and others to ensure they’re relevant and inclusive.
  • Use a human centered approach to shared decision making while honoring personal choice, identifying support, and effectively communicating options.
  • Flexible work arrangements that consider and include LGBTQIA+ specific needs and circumstances.


Safe and Respectful Work Environment:

  • Develop a zero-tolerance policy for homophobic, transphobic, and discriminatory behaviour, and communicate it clearly to all employees.
  • Create policies and practices that prevent bullying, sexual harassment, and discrimination in the workplace. These should align with the relevant legal acts that outline employers’ positive obligations and highlight that discrimination on the grounds of the protected identities is unlawful. The relevant laws include Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth), Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA), Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA).
  • Establish reporting mechanisms to address complaints of harassment, discrimination, or bullying promptly and confidentially.
  • Foster an environment of respect and inclusion by promoting diversity training and awareness programs.


Employee Resource Groups and Support:

  • Encourage the formation of employee resource groups or affinity networks for LGBTIQA+ individuals.
  • Support and participate in community events, pride celebrations, and diversity initiatives.
  • Provide access to counselling services or employee assistance programs that specifically cater to LGBTIQA+ employees’ unique needs.
  • Be aware of and acknowledge LGBTQIA+ negative public discourse or other wider community circumstances which could affect LGBTQIA+ employees mental health and workplace mindset.
  • Ensuring and encouraging non-LGBTQIA+ employees are involved in advocacy and allyship work as well.


Language and Communication:

  • Use inclusive language in all internal and external communications, including policies, documents, and company-wide announcements. E.g., gender neutral terms/pronouns when generalising, avoiding heteronormative statements and languages (don’t assume someone’s sexuality).
  • Respect confidentiality and privacy regarding an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or intersex status.
  • Follow diversity and inclusion guidelines on how to collect and use employee data on LGBTQIA+ staff.
  • Regularly engage with employees to seek feedback on the inclusivity of workplace policies and practices.
  • Transparent job adverts and applications that outline the organisations true level of commitment to diversity and inclusion.


Training and Education:

  • Provide regular training sessions on LGBTIQA+ awareness, diversity, and inclusion for all employees. Both the Working Women’s Centre SA and SAARA offer workplace inclusion training. 
  • Provide implicit/unconscious bias training to all staff but in particular decision makers, managers and those recruiting.
  • Invite external experts or speakers to conduct workshops on relevant topics.
  • Foster a culture of continuous learning and growth, where employees can stay updated on LGBTIQA+ issues and best practices.


Remember, creating an inclusive workplace for LGBTIQAs+ people is an ongoing process. It requires commitment, education, and continuous effort from employers and employees alike. By fostering an environment that values diversity and respect, organizations can harness the full potential of their LGBTIQA+ workforce and create a positive and inclusive work environment for everyone.

If you have any further questions or require assistance, please contact the Working Women’s Centre SA.


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