for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality

Lothian and Borders Police most gay-friendly employer in Scotland

Stonewall today publishes its 2008 Workplace Equality Index (WEI) , showcasing Britain's top 100 employers for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

The top Scottish employer for 2008 is Lothian and Borders Police, who also came 11th UK wide - up from  80th last year.

The index is based on a range of key indicators which show how organisations engage with gay staff, customers and service users.

Calum Irving, director of Stonewall Scotland, said: "We congratulate Lothian and Borders police on their fantastic achievement.

"They have made tackling homophobia in the workplace a priority and showed that, with will and leadership, any workplace can be made a positive environment where lesbian, gay and bisexual staff can thrive alongside their straight colleagues.

"There is simply no excuse for homophobia in the workplace. I hope that where Lothian and Borders Police have led, others will follow and all gay people will be afforded dignity and respect at work."

David Shields, director of Stonewall's Workplace Programmes, said:  'I would like to offer my congratulations to Lothian and Borders Police for being the most gay-friendly employer in Scotland and the first Scottish employer to show in the top 20. Real progress is being made in creating more gay friendly workplaces in Scotland."

Tom Halpin, Deputy Chief Constable of Lothian and Borders Police, said: "Lothian and Borders Police is delighted to receive the award of top Scottish employer for 2008 in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index and we are also extremely pleased to note that we achieved 11th equal overall place in the UK rankings of all employers.

"The award and these achievements are testament to the Force's long standing commitment to diversity issues internally and also with the many partners we work with in this arena. Lothian and Borders Police has a close working relationship with Stonewall on lesbian, gay and bisexual issues and these results emphasise the importance we place on maintaining, and improving on, the progress we have made over recent years.

"The Index measures 20 criteria and involves benchmarking results with other organisations in both the public and private sector. To come out of this as the top employer in Scotland demonstrates the effort put into this by all staff members across the Force and rightly recognises their great contribution to achieving this success."

The Scottish Government was the second best Scottish employer, coming 51st in the top 100. The UK-wide top employer for 2008 is Nacro, the national crime reduction charity.

The top 100 employers were ranked according to criteria ranging from implementation of effective equality policies to practical demonstration of good practice in recruitment and mentoring and how they engage with lesbian and gay staff, customers and service users.

The 240 employers, including 15 Scottish employers, who entered the 2008 WEI were required to obtain a minimum score of 71 per cent to be placed in the top 100, up from 40 per cent when the WEI was first launched in 2005, demonstrating how far employers have come in tackling homophobia.

Employers who want to find out more about equality in the workplace can come to Stonewall Scotland's first annual Scottish Workplace Conference this February.


Notes

1. From Wednesday, the top 100 can be found by visiting www.stonewall.org.uk

2.  Stonewall's Diversity Champions good practice programme currently has over 340 members from across Britain, employing over four million people between them. Recent recruits include Google, Channel 4, Allen & Overy and Deloitte & Touche.

3. Treasury actuaries now estimate that six per cent of the adult population is lesbian or gay. The current UK workforce is 28.9 million.

4. The 2003 Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations made workplace discrimination against gay people unlawful. Despite the regulations, Stonewall still deals regularly with people facing workplace discrimination. Employment tribunals can award unlimited compensation to people who face discrimination or harassment at work on grounds of their sexual orientation.

5. In February last year, salesman Jonah Ditton, 34, from Paisley, was awarded £118,309 for discrimination on the grounds of his sexual orientation.


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