By Sangeetha Shreekar
Pride month calls for the companies to be vocal about their support to the LGBTQ+ community, not just in terms of celebrations with rainbow flags and parades but to come forward with policy enforcements to show you will not stand for discrimination.
Since the 2010 Equality Act, companies are no longer allowed to discriminate against employees based on their sexuality or gender, however there are still evidences of staff experiencing negative reaction at workplaces. Educating the staff on a regular basis is one way to get started.
LGBTQ+ /Diversity speaker event would be the best way to start educating the staff. Pride month is ideal to get that marked in your calendar. An LGBTQ+ speaker will relate to their struggles and will leave the employees positively influenced with a better understanding of the community. The Ireland group also has a great facility to get you started on the training, check them out here.
Policy revision is also highly recommended to be considered. Maternity leaves, parental adoption support programs have made into the policies, it is now time to expand the support legally as part of policy to the LGBTQ+ community. If an employee is transitioning, consider offering a coach or appointing an individual as a means of support. Moreover, companies might want to update their current medical plans and sick leave policy to include transitioning employees.
- Respect the person’s confidentiality.
- Offer and be available to support the person if or when they choose to come out to other
- Ask respectful, clarifying questions if needed but keep in mind that they are not obligated to answer them.
- Referring to the employee as their previous name and/or gender.
- Asking personal questions surrounding their transition, surgical or medical history or how they came out.
- Excluding them from events, meetings, etc.
- Giving unsolicited advice on how they should dress and keep themselves groomed.
The above could also be part of induction training for the new hires and refresher training to advocate your stand as a company of being inclusive and supportive of the LGBTQ+ community.
Raise funds for LGBTQ+ supporting charities. The yearly calendar of the company’s charitable events could include specific charities that work towards supporting LBTQ+ communities and their awareness. Furthermore, external change is just as important as internal change.
It is also not the responsibility of the HR department alone to implement the practices and policies, the management team, leaders of the company needs to take the ownership of ensuring the above are implements, communicated and followed. If you need to discuss organising any of the above events, our team would be happy to partner with you, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org