Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Scandinavian Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology






Stockholm University Press


School of Business and Law


Economics and Social Research Council (RES-062-23-2412)


Hoel, H., Lewis, D., Einarsdottir, A., & Notelaers, G. (2022). Openness about sexual orientation and exposure to workplace bullying. Scandinavian Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 7(1), p.9.


Previous studies of workplace bullying have not investigated whether Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) employees experience bullying in similar or different ways to their heterosexual counterparts. This study reports on how and to what extent sexuality or sexual orientation influences the experience of workplace bullying and whether openness about sexual orientation elevates risks and shapes exposure to bullying. Using a large and rigorously compiled sample of the British working population comprising 500 non-heterosexuals and 722 heterosexuals (N = 1,222) and applying latent Class Cluster Analysis, a similar behavioural pattern of bullying for LGB employees emerged as for heterosexuals, although LGB employees were 1.34 times more likely to be bullied, and not being open about their sexual orientation elevated the risk of bullying. LGB employees were also more likely to be exposed to intrusive, sexualized behaviours and behaviours of an exclusionary nature. Altogether, this suggests that prejudices and stereotyping towards LGB people persist. Whilst being open about their sexual orientation did not make LGB people more likely to become a target of bullying as hypothesized, those who only reveal their sexual orientation when asked, were significantly more likely to be exposed to negative acts than those who were totally open. This indicates that non-disclosure does not prevent others at work making assumptions of sexual orientation, indicating that stereotyping of LGBs plays a greater part in disclosure than has previously been acknowledged.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.