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GLAS Foundation (Bulgaria), Bilitis (Bulgaria), (Belgium), Idewe VZW (Belgium) and ILGA Portugal are joining forces in a new project dedicated on the well-being and discrimination of LGBTI employees. The project is called PREVENT and is funded by the European union.

The European Union issued legislation to ensure that workers’ health and safety is taken care of. In the directive on health and safety in the workplace, health is seen as a broad concept that includes stress and well-being related to specific risks. According to the directive (Council Directive 89/391/EEC, Safety and Health at Work Directive) “employers should conduct risk assessments in relation to mental health of workers, placing particular attention to any groups of workers particularly facing risks to their mental health. Especially vulnerable groups such as those affected by mental health problems or those exposed to risks in relation to their mental health must be protected against dangers which specifically affect them.”

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO) work-related stress is very common and it has a high cost in terms of workers’ health, absenteeism and lower performance. In Europe, where regional figures are available, stress is the second most frequently reported work-related health problem; 50-60% of all lost working days are attributed to work-related stress and the number of people suffering from stress-related conditions caused or made worse by work is likely to increase. This represents a huge cost in terms of both human distress and impaired economic performance. This is why the psychosocial wellbeing of employers is increasingly gaining attention, just as equally increasing is the attention for the responsibility of the employer and the development of corporate social responsibility.

Research has shown that LGBTI people face specific risks in the workplace such as discrimination and intolerance that influence their well-being. There have been some developments in recent years on diversity and inclusion of LGBTI people in the workplace but up until now diversity management has been a voluntary act, mainly taken up by large multinationals or governmental organizations. However, if you take the approach of safety and health at work as it has been taken up in European legislation and you recognize that LGBTI people are a group at specific risks, it is necessary for every employer to take this issue seriously. So there is a clear need for tackling discrimination and health risks for employees that are LGBTI, raising awareness of employers on the Council Directive 89/391/EEC, Safety and Health and diversity management benefits and business risks related to the mental health and well-being of employees, launching instruments that assist employers and prevention workers in assessing the risk for the well-being of LGBTI employees and implementing the directive on Safety and Health.

The expected results of PREVENT are to increase the knowledge of employers on EU legislation and its national transposition; to increase awareness among the LGBTI employees, employees in general, employee networks and employee organizations on the rights deriving from the EU directives and the existence of risk assessment tools; to launch a more effective implementation of the EU legislation relating to discrimination, well-being and LGBTI people; to increase the awareness of employers on benefits of diversity management.

This project will raise awareness of employers and employees on the European Directives on discrimination and health and safety at work. It will provide the tools for risk assessment and for creating inclusive workplaces that contribute to a more effective implementation of this EU legislation. By increasing the awareness of employers through a business case, we will show how diversity management and creating inclusive workplaces will not only eliminate these (and business) risks but will also have specific benefits on indicators like innovation, working together, image brand. This will contribute to the priorities of the call to fight discrimination and promote diversity management.

These results contribute to the implementation of the LGBTI List of Actions of the European Commission. The actions call for a support to businesses to create an inclusive workplace.

This webpage has been produced with the financial support of the Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) Programme of the European Union. The contents of this page are the sole responsibility of PREVENT and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission.

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