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Global guides to support LGBT staff wherever they are in the world

  • New guidance on supporting lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff internationally

  • In more than half the world LGBT people may not be protected by employment law

  • Barclays, Thomson Reuters, IBM and Google among multinationals lend support

Stonewall has released a set of global workplace guides to advise multinationals on how to create inclusive workplaces, wherever they operate.

In more than half of the world, lesbian, gay, bi and trans employees may not be protected under employment law. This can leave both employers and LGBT employees at risk. For example, multinationals may send their LGBT employees on international assignments to countries where LGBT people are persecuted in the law or the culture is hostile.

Stonewall has worked with 10 leading multinationals -  including Barclays, Thomson Reuters, IBM and Google  - to produce a suite of workplace guides for 10 countries across Europe, Asia and Africa.

The guides include case studies to show how companies can tackle sexual orientation and gender identity equality in the workplace, even in difficult circumstances. The case studies have been drawn from Stonewall’s Global Diversity Champions including Baker & McKenzie, Bloomberg, Credit Suisse and EY, among many others.

The guides also feature in-depth interviews with leading national LGBT advocacy groups to highlight the social context, as well as information on local LGBT organisations and initiatives to help LGBT employees when on international postings.

To mark the launch, adverts are running in New York’s Times Square and London’s Canary Wharf from Monday October 24 to Friday October 28. The adverts advise employers and employees to 'Know Before You Go'.

The guides help companies empower their LGBT staff by giving them a unique insight into a country’s LGBT rights situation, so that they can make informed decisions about international postings. They can also help multinational companies take their first steps in tackling sexual orientation and gender identity equality in their global workplaces. In many countries, organisations dare not champion LGBT equality as effectively as they could because they are unsure what the law is, or what the social and cultural circumstances are.

The first 10 guides cover Brazil, China, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Poland, Russia, Singapore, South Africa and Turkey.

A further 11 guides will be released later this year, and will cover Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico and Spain. The current guides will be updated annually.

Sarah Foster, Stonewall’s Head of Global Workplace Programmes, said: ‘People perform better when they can be themselves. Increasingly, global employers are recognising that there is a real business benefit, as well as a compelling moral case for actively supporting their LGBT staff. Getting it right is not a simple task – the legal and cultural situation for LGBT people globally is extremely varied. Many of the most hostile environments are in emerging markets, which poses a serious practical, legal and ethical challenge to employers. These guides give employers the tools they need to address these challenges, and help protect their LGBT staff.

‘We also want these guides to empower organisations to advocate for LGBT equality.  Employers can be scared of breaking the law, or of putting people in danger, so they can be unwilling to address sexual orientation and gender identity. With these guides they can not only support their staff, they can help champion the rights of LGBT people so that everyone can be accepted without exception.’

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Global Workplace Briefings 

Each briefing advises employers on how they can create inclusive and equal workplaces for LGBT employees around the world, outlines the legal, socio-cultural and workplace situation for LGBT people in the specified country, and showcases progressive workplace practices from Stonewall’s membership.

Find out more and download the briefings

Further Information

These briefings provide an easy to read and succinct summary but are by no means exhaustive.

Members of our Global Diversity Champions programme have access to a range of additional resources, including tailored support from our dedicated team of advisors.

Each briefing contains the number of our Global Diversity Champions operating in the country, examples of best practice and interviews with leading NGOs.

Contact your account manager to be connected to our in-country partners and to get bespoke guidance on your global activity.