Driving change for better diversity and inclusion
The movement, named Driving Pride, is focusing on making the automotive sector a more inclusive and supportive industry for LGBTQ+ workers. Major automotive brands including Ford and Jaguar Land Rover have signed up to the movement in a bid to help promote greater diversity and inclusion within their organisations.
Traditionally, the automotive sector has been “very slow to come round to the idea” of LGBTQ+ inclusion, according to secretary of the Driving Pride group Jon Cuthbertson. Cuthbertson also commented that the industry is “only just seeing sexism levelling out,” but hopes that the movement can help change the mindsets of workers in the sector and make the workplace a safe and more inclusive place for LGBTQ+ workers.
The group hosted its launch event in mid May 2023, with founder Ed Rogers commenting that he felt the group was “needed now more than ever.” The group plans to hold a further number of events across the UK in the future.
It is encouraging to see major companies signing up to the movement, particularly following a recent Employment Tribunal case where a car manufacturing engineer claimed to have received abuse and insults from their colleagues, experienced issues regarding which toilet facilities they could use, and felt inadequately supported by HR and management related to the fact that they were transgender and were transitioning from a male to female identity, albeit they did not intend to surgically transition. The Tribunal held that the claimant had the characteristic of gender reassignment, irrespective of them having not undergone any surgical reassignment, and as such they were protected under the Equality Act 2010 and recommended the appointment of a Diversity and Inclusion Champion as well as annual reports on diversity and inclusion within the business.
Companies signing up to the Driving Pride group is a positive step in the right direction and shows a commitment to working towards better inclusivity and safety for LGBTQ+ workers. As of May 2023, the group includes around 40 members working across the automotive industry who aim to promote better working environments within their respective organisations for LGBTQ+ staff.
In the interest of providing a safe space for all workers and promoting diversity and inclusion, employers in all industries should consider how they can create a supportive workplace for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Employers should also make sure that their employee training clearly sets out what is expected of employees and how unlawful treatment, such as discrimination or harassment, will be dealt with.
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