- September 26, 2013
Post submitted by Tushar M, HRC Global Engagement Fellow
Yesterday, Community Business, an Asian workplace diversity nonprofit group, launched its "Creating Inclusive Workplaces for LGBT Employees in China" guide, which highlights the business case for addressing the needs of LGBT employees and provides the cultural and legal context of LGBT issues in China. Community Business has published similar guides in Hong Kong and India in the last couple of years.
The guide, which showcases businesses' best practices and recommendations, is sponsored by IBM and Goldman Sachs. Both IBM and Goldman Sachs scored a 100 percent on HRC’s 2012 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), the national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT employees, and remain global leaders when it comes to supporting their LGBT employees.
"Leading companies in China are beginning to understand the benefits that an inclusive environment can bring to productivity, employee engagement, attraction and retention of the best talent and ultimately, business performance," Community Business said in a statement.
"However, the subject of sexual orientation and gender identity has largely been overlooked. Faced with immense pressure caused by traditional family values and notions of filial piety, very few LGBT individuals are open about their sexual orientation or gender identity, whilst most people consider this topic too sensitive and private to discuss openly. For most companies in China, LGBT is simply not on their agenda."
The existence of the LGBT community in China has been well documented in its history, but it was not till 1997 that China decriminalized homosexuality. Despite these changes, there are no laws protecting the rights of China’s LGBT citizens against discrimination, and the traditional Chinese society remains divided on the issue.
In the United States,workplace discrimination protectionsare the new normal in the business world. Nearly 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies have sexual orientation non-discrimination policies; while 57 percent have gender identity non-discrimination policies.
The Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he’d like to bring to the floor this fall, would protect hardworking LGBT employees from workplace discrimination. The legislation enjoys unprecedented bipartisan support – it passed out of a Senate committee earlier this summer with support from Republicans Mark Kirk (Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Orrin Hatch (Utah).
To learn more about nondiscrimination policies, benefits and other practices that include LGBT workers, visit www.hrc.org/workplace