Is discrimination an issue in Australian organisations?
November 26, 2018

Synergy have recently trained and developed multiple ‘Straight Allies’ as part of our commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. Karen Anderson is a Senior Manager at Synergy who was involved in this training

The focus of recent “Straight Allies” training was on how Synergites can support minority groups within the workplace through the establishment of Workplace Allies and the creation of a safe environment.  The LGBTI group, just one of many minority groups within workplaces in Australia was discussed. Engaging allies is important because:

  • 3% of LGB employees within organisations active in LGBTI workplace inclusion stated that they still witness or have been the target of negative commentary or jokes targeting LGBTI people.
  • 8% of respondents have witnessed or been target of more serious LGBTI bullying or harassment.
  • 7% of employees surveyed were not out to their manager. Only 50% agreed that they would respond honestly if asked about their partner /family by a client, customer or key stake holder.
  • 4% of employees “not out at work” feared repercussions
  • 33% reported that gay jokes/innuendo have had a negative impact on their day to day experience at work

“The change I want to see is an environment where everyone, regardless of gender and background, feels welcome and safe; where sexual harassment or discrimination will not impede great talent from producing great impact.” Christine Tsai, American Business Woman

How do allies in the workplace help?

Everyone is entitled to equality and safety in the workplace.  Everyone can be an ally by:

  • Understanding terminology, myths and challenges
  • Advocate for inclusion, equity, respect for ALL
  • Strong sense of self and awareness of language and assumptions
  • Willingness to play a part (small or large)
  • Willingness to ask questions
  • Willingness to respect privacy and confidentiality
  • Ability to focus and role model person-centred language

Why is diversity important in the workplace?

By removing social imbalances in the workplace, diversity is more likely to flourish. Diversity in the workplace is important because it manifests itself in building a great reputation for the company, leading to increased profitability and opportunities for staff and clients. Here at Synergy, it’s personal, so fostering respect, trust and rapport within the Group is what sets Synergy apart from competitors.

Written by Karen Anderson


LGBTI = Lesbian (L), Gay (G), Bisexual(B), Transgender(T), Intersexual (I)