Being LGBT and working in the Energy Industry

What can we see in the industry today?

Chevron, Shell and BP are a handful of companies that achieved a perfect 100 score in the new LGBT workplace equality rankings published from the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index in 1019. With most of these rankings built from non-discrimination policies across their businesses, equitable benefits for LGBTQ+ workers and their families, and supporting an inclusive culture and corporate social responsibility, we are yet to hear from employees directly from a handful of these businesses.

LGBT and working in the Energy Industry

Other companies that received a perfect 100 rating included a handful that also had their inclusivity statements online;

Pride in Energy

Pride in Energy is a network powered by regulatory body OfGem, focused on promoting diversity throughout our industry. They shared,

“Despite representing 619,000 jobs, five percent of GDP and over two percent of all jobs in the UK the energy industry had fallen behind other equivalent industries in key indices such as the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index.”


Ofgem’s model of creating a committee dedicated to speaking at events and even asking their own queer societies for input is necessary to understand the issues of those facing discrimination and workplace discomfort today. The Ofgem model discusses taking action around creating the right environment for LGBT folks in their workplace by starting the conversation with other employers, but allowing those who are impacted directly to lead the conversation.

Who are the top LGBT employers in the energy sector?

Unfortunately, Stonewall’s top 100 employers listed for inclusivity and diversity for LGBT folks in 2020 was sorely lacking in any names in the energy industry.

Specific different types of work within the energy industry, for example, call centres can have a more prominent profile and volume of LGBT folks and inclusion than the more traditional industry settings. There are a a significant amount of reasons why queer workers may not be out at work or in the union about their gender identity or sexual orientation, whether this is due to individual circumstances or even their own experience of continued prejudice and discrimination in the industry.

We want to optimize the benefit of the creativity and resilience of those in the LGBT+ community and celebrate this as part of the culture in our business.

Why should businesses make LGBT-inclusion a priority?

Simply, promoting a more diverse workforce benefits your business and incorporates wider thinking. 18% of LGBT staff (almost one in five) have been the target of negative comments or conduct from colleagues in the last year because they are LGBTQIA+.The same figure stands for those who said they were discriminated against while looking for work because of their gender or sexual identity.

There is no surprise that more than one-third of LGBTQ staff have hidden or disguised that they are LGBT in the workplace. Because they were afraid if of discrimination.

What to look for in an LGBT employer?

A number of goals that should be considered by an LGBTQIA+ employer are…

  • Increase visibility and decrease isolation of their queer colleagues
  • Promote self-made LGBT and other diverse networks
  • Improve trans and intersex inclusion, including non-binary attention
  • Find a member to take the position as branch LGBT Officer, help by holding AGMs to vote on an LGBT committee
  • Collect diversity data from the workforce across roles and salaries based on orientation and identity. This includes leading with these questions politely and using the right words. For example, when speaking of gender, employees should be welcome to describe their gender in their own words.
  • Support clear LGBT+ role models, especially within the industry

BASF, for example, drive the goal that 50% of those interviewed as well as 50% of those doing the interviewing should be diverse. It is also fundamental here that all staff involved in recruitment have gone through Diversity Awareness Training to enable them to conduct recruitment that is inclusive, especially management.

Ensure that line managers and other seniors have the appropriate training to confidently support and take a zero tolerance approach to homophobic, biphobic, and other abusive language in the workplace.

In an employer, just looking for someone with policies in place is a good start. As this is not always mandatory, should someone face discrimination or harassment at work, there will not be a procedure in place to handle this, and LGBT folks run the risk of being blamed for causing problems or being overly sensitive. Fewer than 28% of LGBT staffs at that senior managers in their workplace demonstrate a commitment to trans equality.

How are LGBT owned businesses treated differently?

16.8million oil and gas businesses operate under a corporate non-discrimination policy in regards to gender identity and sexual orientation, with gender identity only recently becoming a factor to many of these papers.

Speak of gender identity in 2002 policy was just 3% in comparison to today’s 85% of Fortune 500 companies talking on the issue. Following this, more than 500 major employers have adopted guidelines for trans workers who are transitioning. Still, 500 is far under 1% of the number of businesses using these types of policy.


NHS Lothian released a Transgender Workplace Support Guide, these 22 informative pages cover any questions that may be asked about trans terminology and the experience of trans folks s in the workplace, as well as legislation in place to protect those.

The Equality Act 2020 legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society.”

It explains that there has been some prior concern/confusion surrounding The Equality Act 2010 and who exactly is protecting. Today, words making up The Equality Act 2010 have changed  in order to be specific in acknowledging who this looks to protect, and now directly refers to “anyone who is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone (part of) the process for the purpose of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex;

this refers to the process of moving towards ones own gender rather than a medical one, and this act does not require a person to have any endear Recognition Certificate, proof of surgical or other medical treatment in order to be protected by these acts.

Unfair treatment in the act is defined as direct or indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation, and employers should consider the following;

  • Whether a person is being treated differently by their colleges/employer due to the fact that they are transgender
  • Whether the workplace threatens an environment that allows hostility and intimidation to transgender individuals
  • How workplace regulations, policies and practices affect transgender people
  • How employer/management and staff teams respond to a person filing a complaint or asserting their rights

Families, friends and colleagues that are connected to a transgender person, and those who may be perceived as trans, are also protected under this act.

Regulations from 2012, 2015 and 2016 all relate to the Public Sector Equality Duty, which applies to all public bodies in Scotland, England and Wales. It highlights that we as a sector must eliminate unlawful harassment and victimisation of those with protected characteristics and those without.

Gender Recognition Act 2004 is an act of Parliament that allows those with gender dysphoria to legally change their gender and earn a gender recognition certificate on the basis of-

Gender Recognition act

You can read Niccolo’s LGBTQIA Policy here