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Management of SORB in the workplace

Managing sexual orientation, religion and belief

Researchers: Martin Mitchell
Published: May 2008


To understand how managers and employers are implementing new regulations ensuring fair practice and eliminating unlawful discrimination related to sexual orientation and religion or belief (SORB) in the workplace.

Our findings contributed to new guidance on these issues produced by Acas and CIPD.


You can download the full report here.

We identified the following issues around managing SORB in the workplace.

Religion and belief issues such as indirect discrimination and the practicalities of accommodating religious observances, like days off to attend services or ceremonies, or specific issues related to diet or dress.

Sexual orientation issues around prejudice and discrimination in relation to lesbian, gay and bisexual people and dealing with inappropriate behaviour such as teasing and negative comments.

Barriers to dealing with SORB were:

  • lack of management ability or interest
  • focus on other equality ‘strands’ such as race, gender or disability
  • persistent and engrained cultures of bullying and harassment
  • lack of diversity with organisational staff profiles.

Solutions need to focus on:

  • handling SORB issues day-to-day
  • building greater knowledge and understanding of SORB issues
  • managing and sustaining change in organisational culture
  • developing policies and best practices
  • better signposting of existing information on best practice for managing SORB, especially among smaller businesses and organisations.


A one day deliberative event including 48 participants split into four workshop groups. Groups were recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically.