18 PEOPLE | LEGAL SECTOR SUSTAINABILITY INSIGHT 2016 LGBTI INCLUSION As this report is being written the public discourse surrounding marriage equality in Australia is highlighting the different levels of understanding and acceptance of LGBTI people across the Australian community. While the support of many individuals, organisations, and institutions can be a positive and affirming experience, we are also confronted by those whose beliefs leave them unable to completely accept and include LGBTI people as equal citizens. The negative attitudes and opinions surfacing because of the Government’s postal survey speak to the cross section of attitudes and behaviours that LGBTI people live with in their workplaces every day. The degree to which organisations provide an inclusive workplace culture for LGBTI employees is also aligned with a wider culture of diversity and inclusion and an understanding of the benefits that this brings. Employees who are able to be their authentic selves at work are more productive and have a higher level of personal wellbeing. Organisations that support this approach experience lower staff turnover, enhance their corporate reputation and create a competitive advantage. Diverse teams are also better able to solve complex problems and exhibit a higher level of creativity and a broader thought process. Conversely, enduring prejudice creates a high human and business cost. LGBTI populations experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, and self-harm than the general population, with discrimination, verbal and physical abuse, exclusion and prejudice being key contributors. The 2017 Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) conducted by Pride in Diversity supports international research in this area. LGBTI employees find that significant gaps exist between equitable practice and policy in organisations. • Ninety percent of LGBTI employees in organisations active in LGBTI inclusion felt they could be themselves at work, compared to seventy-one percent of employees in organisations new to this space. • Eighty-five percent of employees who ‘strongly agreed’ their manager supported LGBTI inclusion were ‘out’ to them, whereas only thirty-one were ‘out’ if they ‘strongly disagreed’ with this. • LGBTI employees (fourteen percent) were nearly three times more likely to experience or be made aware of negative commentary or jokes than non-LGBTI employees (five percent). 2017 AusLSA Member Performance Overall AusLSA members are reporting a growth in the strategic, management, and program based response to promoting LGBTI inclusion. Sixty-eight percent of firms reported having an LGBTI inclusion policy (up from sixty-two percent in 2016) and fifty seven percent of these published their commitments on their website. The respondents that allocated the responsibility to implement their policy to a Partner increased from fifty percent in 2016 to sixty-eight percent this year, and the involvement of workplace-based committees also increased from sixty-four to seventy-seven percent. Twenty-six firms (up from twenty-two in 2016) participated in a range of different work-based activities and initiatives. Fifteen (up from twelve in 2016) ran activities for IDAHOT and eight for Wear it Purple. Of the sixteen firms who reported being members of Pride in Diversity, thirteen (up from twelve in 2016) reported participating in the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI). Seventeen firms provided LGBTI awareness training (up from thirteen in 2016). FORMAL POLICY PUBLISHED POLICY 59% 68% 41% 6% 26% Yes Yes No No Not Reported POLICY PUBLISHED