By Samuel Jones

World Pride kicked off in Sydney last month, and it’s time to celebrate diversity, identity, and equality of all people, but especially the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) community.

Australian workplaces are incredibly diverse, with people coming from a wide range of cultures, ethnicities, gender identities, ages, sexual orientations, and socio-economic backgrounds, so employers must create and maintain an inclusive workplace for their staff. Embracing inclusivity, diversity, and equality begins with creating a positive workplace culture, and here we explain how your business can do just that.  

With three per cent of the Australian population identifying as gay, lesbian, or bisexual and the figure increasing among people who are under the age of 25, the importance of an inclusive workplace can’t be underestimated. 

By creating, maintaining, and celebrating an inclusive culture, businesses can improve how they engage their workforce and enable them to bring comprehensive solutions, ideas, and innovation to the workplace.  

Discrimination is, unfortunately, still present in many workplaces. And with LGBTQIA+ employees twice as likely to be victims of workplace discrimination as their non-LGBTIQA+ colleagues, it’s the responsibility of employers to create and maintain a safe and inclusive workplace. Unlawful discrimination occurs when an employee is treated adversely or less favourably due to a specific attribute. These attributes can include:  

  • Race; 
  • Colour; 
  • Sex; 
  • Sexual orientation; 
  • Breastfeeding; 
  • Gender identity; 
  • Intersex status; 
  • Age; 
  • Physical or mental disability;
  • Marital status; 
  • Family or carer’s responsibilities; 
  • Pregnancy; 
  • Religion; 
  • Political opinion; or
  • National extraction or social origin. 

A workplace that’s inclusive of diversity will ideally prevent discrimination from occurring and prevent employees from being treated adversely because of personal attributes 

47 per cent of people who identify as lesbian or gay have experienced workplace sexual harassment in the past year. So, how can you make your workplace more inclusive? 

Consistency is key when creating and maintaining a workplace that embraces inclusivity, diversity, and equality. First and foremost, your leadership team must be committed to promoting diversity and inclusion through their actions. Those in leadership positions should always lead by example and correct those who fail to do so.  

Here are some ways employers can lead by example when it comes to promoting an inclusive workplace: 

  • Implement a code of conduct and anti-discrimination and harassment policies that set standards of behaviour. A robust policy framework can help prevent adverse treatment of employees and promote treating everyone in the workplace with respect and kindness. 
  • Using language that is inclusive and to an extent also neutral. Some workers may identify as non-binary and prefer the neutral pronouns they/them whereas others may prefer gender-identifying pronouns such as he/him or she/her. 
  • Recognising and celebrating the strengths and talents of individuals to express positive diversity. Incorporating programs like monthly shoutouts, annual awards, or hosting multicultural lunches can all help to celebrate diversity and promote a culture of inclusiveness. 
  • There are also practical elements that can be implemented like using the colours of the pride flag to help represent all individuals. 
  • Offering access to regular compulsory sexual harassment and discrimination training that educates employees about this behaviour, how to stamp it out, and reinforce minimum expectations of employees. 
  • Swiftly addressing any accusation of harassment or bullying in relation to discrimination within the workplace. 

For comprehensive advice and guidance on how to best navigate this area or to ensure your workplace is compliant, please contact our team of workplace relations experts via our 24/7 Telephone Advisory Service. 


Not an HR Assured client? Contact us for a confidential, no-obligation phone call today.   

Samuel Jones is a Workplace Relations Advisor at HR Assured and assists a variety of clients via the 24/7 Telephone Advisory Service. He is currently studying for a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Psychology (Honours).