Getting the best out of your workforce; diversity in the workplace

Delegates at the LGBT Business Leader Forum in Budapest, were reminded of the need to continue challenging stereotypes that feed homophobic tendencies in our societies.

FRA Director Morten Kjaerum's speech reiterated how discrimination undermines core EU values like human dignity, freedom and equality. The audience of business leaders was reminded of the challenges facing employers in the private sector. An approach to these challenges based on diversity was emphasised for the benefits it brings to everyone, rather than just a particular group of people. Developing an inclusive working environment was suggested as the way to get the best out of the entire workforce.

Despite the fact that there is an increased awareness throughout the EU about discrimination and diversity with respect to the LGBT population today, the speech warned that, according to evidence in FRA reports, LGBT people still experience discrimination, bullying and harassment in the workplace. Legislative protection against discrimination must be supported by an active strategy to promote non-discrimination, equal opportunities, and diversity. This would require a better application of mainstreaming, awareness raising and training, and activities promoting diversity in the work place. The importance of prevention and dialogue, as well as better enforcement of the law, were some of the other key messages in the address.

The FRA will continue to engage with the business community, the next occasion of note in this vein being the 3rd International Business Leader Forum in Warsaw in July 2010.