Almost half of LGBT workers in Poland afraid to come out to colleagues for fear of being treated differently

Almost half (46%) of LGBT employees in Poland are afraid of disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity in the workplace for fear of being treated differently, compared to a figure of 39% globally, a new international study on LGBT inclusion has revealed.

The Global LGBT+ Inclusion @ Work report by Deloitte, a large multinational accounting and professional services firm, surveyed thousands of non-Deloitte LGBT employees from 13 countries around the world, including the United States, the Netherlands, India and Poland.

It found that 40% of LGBT workers in Poland who experience discriminatory behaviour at work report it to their organisation, considerably lower than the global figure of 55%.

Poland remains the EU’s worst country for LGBT people, according to the annual Rainbow Europe ranking

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) May 11, 2023

Among those in Poland who do not report such behaviour, 47% say they do not do so out of fear of worsening their situation. Among all countries, the equivalent figure was 39%.

The other main reason given by Polish workers for failing to notify their employer was a lack of faith in any change and cessation of discriminatory behaviour coming about as a result. Two fifths (40%) of the Polish respondents cited this as a factor, compared to 28% globally.

A quarter (26%) of Polish respondents say that their company participates in initiatives related to Pride Month, while the global figure was 37%. Only 20% of Polish respondents affirm that their employer demonstrates a commitment to LGBT+ inclusion, compared to 35% of global respondents.

Poland has vetoed an EU statement on the safety of LGBT people, arguing that it “privileges homosexuals” while ignoring crimes against Christians.

It also opposed an EU directive on combating violence against women because of its use of the term “gender”

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) June 9, 2023

“It is not uncommon for LGBT+ people to face unacceptable or insufficiently inclusive treatment by co-workers. If we want to change this, we should actively and visibly show our allyship and solidarity towards them,” Maja Zabawska, diversity, equity & inclusion leader for Deloitte Poland, said in a press release.

“Despite the fact that recently there has been more and more talk about supporting LGBT+ people, it turns out that this issue is still a challenge in the workplace both on a global scale and in Poland,” added Joanna Świerzyńska, talent partner at Deloitte Poland.

Opinion polls show growing acceptance of LGBT people in Poland. However, recent years have also seen a concerted campaign by the conservative government against what it calls “LGBT ideology”. As a result, Poland has been ranked as the worst country in the EU for LGBT for the last four years running.

A growing majority of Poles favour the legalisation of same-sex civil unions or marriage, with almost two thirds now in favour, a new poll has found

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) June 10, 2022



Notes from Poland is run by a small editorial team and published by an independent, non-profit foundation that is funded through donations from our readers. We cannot do what we do without your support.

Main image credit: Marcel Strauß/Unsplash

Anna Hackett is an assistant editor at Notes from Poland. She is a recent graduate of European Studies from Trinity College Dublin and has had previous journalistic experience with the Irish Independent News & Media group.

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