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Original research
Associations between workplace characteristics and ‘outness’ in LGBTI workers in Austria

Abstract

Objectives Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals are often subjected to negative attitudes in the workplace, which may lead to non-disclosure of their sexual orientation and/or gender identities. We aimed to determine the prevalence of workplace disclosure of sexual or gender identity (ie, ‘outness’; being ‘out’) and to examine its associations with workplace characteristics in LGBTI workers in Austria.

Methods This cross-sectional study analysed sociodemographic, work-related and well-being-related data from self-identifying gender and/or sexual minority participants elicited by an online questionnaire between February and June 2017. From the initial 1268 respondents, 1177 (93%) provided complete data and were included in the subsequent analyses.

Results The largest proportion of the sample were 26–35 years old (39.1%), cisgender gay men (40.0%) in full-time employment (63.9%). Overall, 51.7% of the sample were ‘out’ at the workplace. Being bisexual (OR=0.46, 95% CI 0.27 to 0.81), the provision of antidiscrimination guidelines in the workplace (OR=0.53, 95% CI 0.32 to 0.90), living alone (OR=0.50, 95% CI 0.32 to 0.79) and in shared households (OR=0.49, 95% CI 0.25 to 0.96) were associated with a decreased likelihood of being ‘out’ at work.

Factors associated with being ‘out’ at work were being middle aged (36–45 years old; OR=1.74, 95% CI 1.07 to 2.85), having been in employment for >10 years (OR=2.03, 95% CI 1.08 to 3.81), an LGBTI-friendly work environment (OR 1.61, 95% CI 1.36 to 1.91), labour-management antidiscrimination contract (OR=2.02, 95% CI 1.23 to 3.32) and work council protections (OR=1.56, 95% CI 1.04 to 2.36).

Conclusions Instating antidiscrimination protections might facilitate ‘outness’ of LGBTI workers and lead to a better promotion of diversity in the workplace.

  • occupational health
  • public health
  • sociology
  • cross-sectional studies

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request from the corresponding author.

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