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Rachel Davine Shares What Pride Month Means To Her

Rachel Davine - Associate Director in HR at Waterman Aspen

For Pride Month 2024, Rachel Davine – Associate Director in our HR team – shares what Pride means to her, both personally and as a HR professional…

“LGBTQIA+ Pride Month is here, and as always, it is the perfect opportunity to celebrate love in all its diversity without prejudice. This is a message that I feel very strongly about.

However, in more recent times, there has also been a growing opinion within the community that this event has become too commercialised and that many companies simply see it as a marketing ploy, without making any meaningful effort to engage with the narrative of the LGBTQIA+ Pride movement. So this year, we’ve decided to open up the conversation to our wonderful colleagues to find out what it really means to them.

To start us off, this week, I will share my own views on what Pride means to me as a HR professional.

According to a report published in May 2024 by Randstad, 41% of LGBTQIA+ workers ‘have faced discrimination at work, pushing nearly a third (29%) to quit roles’. This is a deeply troubling statistic and, to me, it shows just how far we still have to go, and how much we still need LGBTQIA+ Pride events.

Firstly, nobody should feel uncomfortable simply for existing and being who they are within the workplace or otherwise. This is not just my own personal belief, but one that is supported by the law. Gender reassignment, sex and sexual orientation are amongst the nine legally protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010, so employers have a legal duty to protect their employees. To do this, they must ensure their policies and practices are not discriminatory. They must also investigate any incidents of alleged harassment thoroughly and fairly, adhering to both the law and their own workplace policies. I would urge anyone that feels they have been a victim of, or witnessed, workplace bullying or harassment to speak to an appropriate contact within their organisation in order to access the support they are entitled to. ACAS and Citizens Advice are two excellent organisations that can also be contacted for assistance, either via their websites or their respective helplines.

Secondly, to prevent incidences of discrimination from occurring in the first place, companies must provide adequate training on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) from day one. This can easily be incorporated into existing practices. For example, Waterman Aspen has added online training on the subject of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) as part of every colleague’s online onboarding modules. As part of their welcome to the company, colleagues are invited to share their preferred name and pronouns so that these can be used from the very beginning of their employment with us. But this is just a very small start, and there is still so much more that can and must be done – our EDI team is constantly striving to improve our practices.”

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