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Today, Minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss, will bring together a group of businesses to discuss how SMEs, business groups and individuals can work together to support LGBT people in the workplace. 

The event will be co-chaired by Iain Anderson, Executive Chairman of Cicero Group, supported by Federation of Small Businesses, with groups and individuals such as the British Library, Vieve and Limby Hall PA in attendance.

The National LGBT Survey showed that, on average, LGBT people face higher rates of bullying or harassment in the workplace. This event will recognise the progress that has been made by employers since the survey was published in 2018, whilst considering the action that could be taken by small and medium size organisations to further tackle discrimination. 

Anecdotal evidence gathered by the Government Equalities Office suggests that large businesses are more likely to have the resources in place to adopt impactful policies that promote LGBT equality and prevent anti-LGBT discrimination. Today’s event will showcase how SMEs can also do this effectively.

Attendees will be encouraged to share best practice that they have used themselves. Ministers hope that this will encourage others to adopt simple practices such as developing strong support protocols for staff who have suffered harassment and ensuring recruitment practices are based on merit. 

Many businesses have already adopted similar measures, and Truss will celebrate these efforts in a short speech to open the event. The Minister will also confirm the government’s commitment to supporting LGBT people in the workplace as the government pushes for everyone to be involved in the COVID-19 recovery effort. 

Minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss, said: “We want everyone to be able to seize opportunities in the workplace without fear of discrimination or harassment.

“There is clearly positive work being done by SMEs and self-employed business leaders to champion LGBT equality in the workplace and I want to ensure everyone can benefit from this.

“As we build back better it is vital that everyone is able to contribute. Today’s event will help to ensure more businesses can share best practice and offer an environment where people can thrive.”

Iain Anderson, Executive Chairman of Cicero/AMO, said: “It has been a very tough year for everyone. I’m delighted to be co-hosting this event focused on the SME sector to celebrate the huge progress towards LGBT equality in business. 

“But there is much more to do. We want to share best practice together and create new connections for SMEs in their work towards LGBT equality. I am hugely grateful to the Federation of Small Business for their support.”

Julie Lilley, Federation of Small Businesses Chief Executive, said:  “It’s vital that LGBT+ entrepreneurs and employees can bring their whole selves to their business, and their work. As an SME ourselves, our employees created an LGBT+ Allies scheme that we made part of every new employee’s induction, and is live across our offices and those who work from home.  

“We know from our LGBT+ colleagues and others that this has made us a better workplace, and a better business. We now want to take this further, helping our members and the 5-million strong small business community that we represent.  

“We’re delighted to support today’s event with SMEs, the Government Equalities Office and Cicero/AMO.”

The government has been supporting measures to tackle workplace discrimination, such as ACAS’ Discrimination, Bullying and Harrassment guidance, to ensure that it includes specific examples related to LGBT people.  

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