Today, HR released an issue brief to help employees and employers build more inclusive workplace environments for bisexual people.
“Bisexual Visibility in the Workplace” addresses the largely unacknowledged challenge of bisexual employee visibility and inclusion, and provides practical suggestions for improving the climate through actions by individual employees, employee resource groups, and company management and human resources.
"Many of America's leading companies continue to adopt meaningful policies, practices and benefits for LGBT people, including non-discrimination policies for sexual orientation and gender identity, and transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage,” said Beck Bailey, HRC Foundation’s Deputy Director of Employee Engagement. “But as employers look beyond policy to efforts to improve the day-to-day experiences of LGBT people, the invisibility of bisexual workers deserves their attention. Despite the significant number of bi-identified employees, they largely remain closeted on the job, and experience less-than-welcoming workplace culture.”
The brief notes that the recent HRC survey Degrees of Equality shows that bisexual workers are less likely than their gay or lesbian peers to be out at work--just 59 percent, versus 79 percent of gay men and 77 percent of lesbians. Additionally, 43 percent of bisexual employees reported hearing bisexual jokes at work, contributing to the problem of bi-invisibility at work.
“A concerted focus on bisexual education and visibility is necessary to reduce bias and create workplaces that allow bisexual workers to be fully themselves at work," Bailey said.
To help employees and employers get started on improving the climate for bisexual workers, HRC Foundation’s Workplace Equality Program advises the following:
- Individual employees are encouraged to use inclusive language, speak up when they hear biphobic comments, and challenge themselves about their own potential biases;
- Employee resource groups are encouraged to intentionally create bi-inclusive spaces, mark events that are geared toward creating bi-awareness like Bisexuality Awareness Week , and to work to include specific references to the bisexual community in group meetings;
- Management and human resource professionals are urged to be fully aware of LGBT-inclusive company policies, to support domestic partner benefits programs that are particularly essential for different-sex bisexual couples, and to include bi-inclusive examples in non-discrimination, anti-bias and anti-harassment training.