by Georgina Fuller
Originally published: July 3, 2017
When Joseph Williams came out as gay in front of a former boss and client, he didn’t expect to be fired. He was dismissed, he was told by human resources, for intentionally damaging the company brand and committing gross misconduct in front of the client.
The case was settled out of court, but it’s not the only time Williams hasn’t been able to freely express his sexuality at work. In previous roles he’s been the victim of anti-gay bullying. He says: “I’ve encountered homophobic slurs and discrimination [...] name calling to crude stereotyping. People still haven’t been effectively educated.”
Williams is now director of Drive (the Diversity Recruitment Institute of Value and Excellence), a social enterprise set up by recruitment firm Green Park. Drive produces research into the barriers to diversity progression in the workplace, helps its members improve diversity at their organisations and runs programmes for minority staff empowerment and development.