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Volume 19 Issue 3 (July 2009), Pages 217-335

Equality and diversity in the public services: moving forward on lesbian, gay and bisexual equality? (pages 280-301)

A key change for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people in the European Union has been the prohibition by the Employment Equality Directive (2000) of discrimination in employment on grounds of sexual orientation. This article focuses on the UK, which in 2003 introduced legislation making it unlawful to discriminate on these grounds. It explores the factors encouraging ‘good practice’ in sexual orientation equality work. It considers progress within the public services that have ‘pioneered’ sexual orientation equalities work, drawing on the views of LGB employees, management and trade union stakeholders. The recent legislation is considered to have provided a major impetus for change; however, an emerging ‘business case’ within the public service modernisation agenda is considered to have provided both opportunities and barriers to progress. A challenge for HR practitioners is getting organisational commitment to sexual orientation work, which is still perceived within organisations as a ‘sensitive’ area.

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