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Labour groups urge workplace acceptance as Pride Week begins

Finland's biggest labour federations have called for more tolerance and equality on the job. The call comes at the beginning of Helsinki Pride Week, which focuses on issues affecting sexual and gender minorities.

Helsinki Pride kulkue
Image: Mika-Matti Taskinen / Yle

Finland's main labour organisations have called for more tolerance and equality in the workplace as Helsinki Pride Week begins.

The SAK, Akava and STTK said on Monday that employers must take steps to ensure that workers are able to fearlessly be themselves on the job, in accordance with the Non-Discrimination Act that took effect at the beginning of last year.

The call comes at the beginning of Helsinki Pride Week, which focuses on issues facing sexual and gender minorities.

The labour federations reminded companies of their responsibility to advance equality and combat discrimination on the job.

Many representatives of sexual and gender minorities are afraid to be themselves in front of managers, colleagues or customers, says Miika Sahamies, an expert on young adults and working life at Akava, a trade union confederation for highly educated people. This fear is often due to inappropriate treatment in the past, he notes.

STTK: Trust and openness vital

Anja Lahermaa, a lawyer with the Finnish Confederation of Salaried Employees (STTK), stresses the importance of trust and openness in reducing fear felt by employers. She says that too many people still make assumptions about their colleagues' or subordinates' family situations based simply on their age and gender.

Helsinki Pride Week culminates in a march on Saturday, July 2, starting from Senate Square at 1 pm. Last year a record number took part in the procession, more than 25,000 people.

On Sunday, New York's Pride March honoured the victims of this month's massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Representatives of the Nordic consulates marched together with a banner in New York, alongside politicians such as Hillary Clinton.

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