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I am being teased about being gay. What can I do?

This information applies to England, Wales and Northern Ireland

I am called names, and teased by my colleagues at work, because they think I am gay. I have spoken to my boss but he has done nothing about it, and says it’s just a bit of fun and I shouldn’t take it so seriously. What can I do?

Any behaviour like this in the workplace that upsets an individual, can amount to harassment. Employers are responsible for the actions of their staff, as well as staff being individually responsible for their behaviour towards their colleagues. If you are being harassed , your employer may be responsible unless they can show that they took all possible steps to prevent the harassment. It is unlawful to discriminate against, or to harass workers, because they are believed to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or heterosexual, whether or not they are actually lesbian, gay, bisexual or heterosexual.

Since your boss is refusing to take your concerns seriously, you may want to raise a grievance with him. This should be in writing, and should be signed and dated. If you decide to make a claim for discrimination to an employment tribunal, you may need to raise a written grievance before you do this.

If you think you have been discriminated against because of your sexual orientation, you should get advice from an experienced adviser, for example, at a Citizens Advice Bureau. To search for details of your nearest CAB, including those that can give advice by e-mail, click on nearest CAB.

For more information about raising a written grievance with your boss, in England, Wales and Scotland see Sorting out problems at work and in Northern Ireland, see Dealing with grievances, dismissal and disciplinary action at work.

For more information in England, Wales and Scotland about discrimination at work because you of your sexual orientation, see What can I do if my employer treats me unfairly because of my sexual orientation [Adobe Acrobat Document 140 KB], in Employment fact sheets.

For more information about other types of discrimination and harassment in the workplace see Basic rights at work.

Other Frequently asked questions about civil rights: