This May 1st we look closer at LGBTIQ+ worker rights

This May 1st, we look closer at the labour rights situation of LGBTIQ+ people in the Western Balkans and Türkiye. 

While all Western Balkans countries offer legal protection from discrimination in employment, the situation on the ground is far from ideal. 

Our 2022 regional poll in six Western Balkans countries revealed that 18% of the public would stop communicating with a colleague if they found out they were LGBTIQ+. 

A striking 26% would try to help them find a cure, believing that being LGBTIQ+ is a sickness. 

The study shows, however, an improvement in terms of acceptance.  Compared to 2015, when only 8% would fully support a colleague for being LGBTIQ+, that percentage has increased to 23,8% in 2022, showing that, albeit slowly, society in the Western Balkans is moving towards more acceptance. 

In Türkiye, the labour rights of LGBTIQ+ people are not only not protected by the state, but they are currently under vicious attacks and oppression. 

Such statistics, however, are further proof that most LGBTIQ+ people are afraid to come out in their workplace, and those who do not have the privilege of being invisible or want to live out proud face numerous challenges, from discrimination, harassment, and many other challenges. 

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says, "Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and protection against unemployment."

Until LGBTIQ+ people are perceived and treated as equal to the rest of society, discrimination against them will prevail, including in the workplace and the labour market. So the fight for equality extends also to socio-economic rights, which are as fundamental as all other human rights.