National

Rengo poll finds 20% of respondents know of workplace LGBT harassment

Staff Report

More than 20 percent of workers have seen discriminatory acts against LGBT people in the workplace, according to a survey by the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo).

Released Thursday, the survey was Rengo’s first of its kind. It was conducted online between June 30 and July 4 on 1,000 male and female company employees between the ages of 20 and 59. Among them, 8 percent identified themselves as sexual minorities.

Nearly 23 percent of the respondents said they have witnessed or heard of harassment toward LGBT people at their workplaces, including 1.3 percent who said they had personally experienced harassment.

Many of the respondents attributed this to prejudice against such people and gender stereotypes.

Asked what they would think of LGBT colleagues, 35 percent — 23.2 percent of women and 46.8 percent of men — said they would find it offensive.

People who have difficulty accepting LGBT individuals in the workplace accounted for 28.4 percent of the respondents in their 20s, while the ratio was 39.2 percent for those in their 50s, the survey said.

Meanwhile, more than half of the respondents said companies should take measures to prevent and ban harassment toward LGBT people. At the same time, more than 1 in 3 respondents said they have no opinion on the issue, an indication of the need to better define harassment.

Asked what kind of measures should be taken at the workplace, 38.1 percent said workers should be allowed to dress freely according to their gender identity. Just over 47 percent said workers should be allowed to discuss and make arrangements in their offices so that transgender colleagues can use toilets and locker rooms according to their gender identity.

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