Are employers required to monitor their employees' sexual orientation?

There is no requirement to collect data on sexual orientation under the Equality Act 2010. However, employers may wish to consider adding sexual orientation to the categories by which they carry out monitoring. Appendix two to the Employment statutory code of practice notes that, although sexual orientation may be considered to be a private issue, it is relevant in the workplace, particularly with regard to discrimination and the application of equality (and other) policies.

There are likely to be particular sensitivities about employees or job applicants sharing information about sexual orientation and information can be requested on a voluntary basis only. As a result, the information collected may not give an accurate picture. The code states that it is important to ask the questions in the right way because there is a risk of creating further barriers, and provides recommended questions.

The EHRC guidance Good equality practice for employers: equality policies, equality training and monitoring advises employers to tell applicants and workers the reason why the monitoring information is being requested, provide details of the process for gathering, storing and using the information and implement procedures to ensure that the information is not used to discriminate against, harass or victimise them.