How can your company support LGBTQ relocating employees?
There are some things to consider when sending LGBTQ employees to different parts of the world. Director, Client Relations Kelsey Higgins offers suggestions on supporting these employees in this Relo Tip Tuesday.
Complete transcript: “Hi, I’m Kelsey Higgins, client relations manager at Plus. Today, I’m going to address the question, ‘What should companies consider when sending lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer employees on assignment, and how can they best support the LGBTQ relocating population?’
With the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States, the immigration process for LGBTQ couples coming into and out of the U.S. has improved significantly. However, this is not the case for several other countries, and many remain unfriendly or unsafe toward LGBTQ individuals. According to a 2014 survey by Mercer, 61% of corporate respondents were unaware of legal and cultural conditions of LGBTQ employees in countries of operation. And 91% do not consider the cultural sensitivity of LGBTQ employees in inhospitable situations.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the issues LGBTQ employees may encounter during the relocation process.
First, in some cases, there may be no legal protection against discrimination or harassment in a country, which leads to discomfort and an overall sense of unease for the LGBTQ employee. And even if there is protection legally, it may not always be enforced or observed by locals.
Second, in some countries, there is no legal recognition of relationships between same-sex partners, even if the couple is married or civilly committed in their home country. This leads to restrictions on immigration.
And third, there may be no legal recognition of parental rights, which can affect schooling and medical decisions, among other things.
So how do you accommodate the LGBTQ population in your workforce?
Ensure the LGBTQ employee is comfortable with the business opportunity. Make sure they have country-specific details about potential issues and let them make the decision if the given opportunity is right for them.
If an employee isn’t comfortable with a long-term assignment, consider offering shorter-term assignments, as there are fewer risks associated based off of immigration law and personal safety.
Increase the number of home leave trips in the policy when immigration is complex.
Ensure your supplier partners are knowledgeable about potential issues for relocating LGBTQ employees, especially with schooling, when dependents are involved.
Finally, and most importantly, ensure your LGBTQ employee knows they won’t suffer a detriment to their career if they do not accept a relocation or assignment. Thanks for watching!”