UPS Hosts CEI Event in Georgia
October 8, 2011 by Deena Fidas, Director of the Workplace Equality Program
On the heels of the 2012 Corporate Equality Index and my fourth year of LGBT workplace advocacy here at HRC, it's amazing to see so many major employers partnering with us and striving for true first-in-class best practices.
Today I was in Atlanta where UPS - our longtime supporter and CEI 100 percent rated business - hosted a forum on global LGBT inclusion just as the HRC bus was pulling into the downtown district. Leading Atlanta-area businesses, from Coca-Cola to Booz Allen Hamilton, among others were in attendance to learn about trends in global LGBT workplace inclusion and share some of the successes and challenges they have encountered to the complex question of how to make entire companies - from offices here in the US to Singapore to Mexico and beyond - fully inclusive for all workers.
Many in the community know the CEI has been a catalyst for change in corporate America, but of course most of the businesses we call 'corporate America' are in fact global firms and companies. Today's economy knows no borders and workers, goods and money travel the globe rapidly.
And what does that mean for the LGBT workforce?
Well, it's not completely clear how rapidly workplace equality has spread.
About two thirds of last year's CEI businesses reported that they had international operations. Of those, about 82 percent reported having a global non-discrimination policy. But questions remain as to how these policies are implemented and reconciled with potentially hostile local culture on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.
A new area of growth for employers is to take a holistic, global approach to educating its workforce on the specifics of LGBT inclusion, implement global non-discrimination policies and accompanying training.
Furthermore, businesses are having to address the unique challenges relocating LGBT employees may face in moving to nations that have laws condemning LGBT people essentially for who they are, and how to make sure their company's benefits are portable for these relocating employees.
A tall order, for sure.
But not one that leading businesses are shying away from.
In fact, as one attendee noted, 'These may be complex questions, but we need to be asking them. We need to be relevant in the future and strive for a baseline of understanding what is possible.'
Indeed. In the coming months, we will release new resources for employers on global relocation best practices and considerations.
A heartfelt thank you to UPS for hosting us today and all those in attendance. I look forward to many such conversations moving forward!
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