Now that the U.S. Supreme Court decided that states must recognize same-sex marriage nationwide, it’s time to turn our sights outside of our nation. Employers must now navigate another predicament in regard to LGBT employees: travel and relocation.
Working overseas is an experience that few ever attain, but is often a standard practice in the world of tech and professional services. It allows an employee to gain international experience. However, such conditions can be problematic for an LGBT employee. According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, 78 countries have deemed “homosexual acts” illegal. It’s a painful reality, but punishments can range from unspoken hostility to incarceration. Homosexuality is punishable by death in 10 of those countries.
So, what should employers do? The single most important move that employers can make is having a honest and open conversation before sending an employee abroad. Companies also must make clear the political, cultural, social and legal implications of traveling to or working in a country for an extended period of time. In the end, it’s up to the employee.
Luckily, the government has written extensively on LGBT travel. The U.S. Department of State has an LGBT section on its website that evaluates the laws, social issues and safety considerations in each country and is updated regularly. Some tips include:
- Invest in a current travelogue – many specialize in advice to LGBT travelers
- Give employees information on press that focus on LGBT travel
- Find a travel agent that might have information about LGBT issues
- Utilize LGBTI groups for information about local laws and attitudes
- Sign up for the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
If you have further questions regarding the risks involved with sending your employees overseas, chat with an ‘A’ Team member today!
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