Last week at the same time as the Civil Partnership Bill began it’s committee stage, GLEN were holding a launch of their Guide on LGB Diversity in the Workplace. The project was developed in conjunction with IBM, the Irish Business Employers Confederation, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Business in the Community Ireland and the Equality Authority. The report was launched by Tanaiste Mary Coughlan, TD, the new Minister for Education and Skills.
The Minister in a previous position has the honour of leading legislation through the Dáil which discriminated against same sex couples – you may remember the travel pass ban which resulted from it. But come the Civil Partnership Bill that may become a distant memory – we’ll have to see the schemes and legislation from the Department of Social Protection and Finance before we know for sure.
It seems in the 6 months since the last time that the Tanaiste enquired about the meaning of the phrase LGBT that she may have gained some further understanding. One of her constituents (and former FF Town Councillor and Director of Organisation for Mary Coughlan and Pat the Cope Gallagher) works for GLEN hence her presence at the launch and comment about not being able to say no at the beginning of the footage below. However count the number of times the Tanaiste says lesbian, gay, bisexual or LGBT during her speech?
IBM have a long track record in working on diversity issues and I am aware of their work on disability and ethnic minority awareness in Mulhuddart/Dublin West.
I will be interested in how the guidelines will be adopted in the non US multi-nationals, public sector and the SME sector – Many of multi-nationals for 15 plus years have had non discrimination policies in operation but I know a lot of LGBT workers believe that more than a decade of equality legislation in Ireland has not permeated enough attitudes in work places. (See post on PSEU research on the matter.)