More and more people are looking for employers that offer exciting opportunities to travel or relocate in a globalised world. Multinational organisations can offer just that, but at the same time many operate in countries where the experiences of LGBT people differ greatly.
While progress for LGBT rights has been made in many countries, others have become more repressive. Challenges and discrimination remain everywhere. In more than half the world, the law may not protect LGBT people from discrimination at work and in more than 70 countries it remains illegal to have sex with a person of the same sex. Most governments also deny trans people the right to legally change their name and gender from those assigned at birth. Only eight countries allow trans people to self-determine their legal gender.
Multinational employers have a huge responsibility to support their LGBT staff wherever they’re based, as well as to contribute to LGBT equality outside the workplace. When researching your potential future employer, try to find out how their global work reflects your values. You can begin by looking for the following:
1. Global values
As a first step, search the organisation’s website to find out what their global values are. At the very least, these should include statements on equality, diversity and inclusion. The best employers explicitly address their commitment to LGBT equality globally. You can then look for evidence of how these global values are brought to life, for example, whether the organisation has global senior leaders who publicly champion LGBT equality.
2. Global anti-discrimination policies
Many employers have anti-discrimination policies that include zero tolerance of discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Find out if the employer’s policy applies globally. This protects LGBT staff from workplace discrimination in countries where the law may not.
3. Global LGBT employee networks and ally programmes
Engaging staff to raise awareness on LGBT issues and offer support to their LGBT colleagues can have a real impact on workplace equality. Many employers do so through established LGBT staff networks and ally programmes. Find out if an organisation’s LGBT network and ally programme extend globally. This can give a good indication of how committed it is to supporting LGBT staff in all the countries where it operates.
4. Stonewall’s list of Top Global Employers
Every year Stonewall publishes a list of Top Global Employers for LGBT staff. The list is compiled from submissions to Stonewall’s Global Workplace Equality Index: a powerful benchmarking tool used by employers to create inclusive workplaces across the markets in which they operate. Download Stonewall’s 2018 list [hyperlink: www.stonewall.org.uk/tge2018] to see the most recent winners and find out what they do to support LGBT equality around the world.