LGBT at Workplace: The real diversity inclusion
In a 2016 survey of 100 Indian LGBT employees was conducted by MINGLE(Mission for Indian Gay and Lesbian Empowerment ), an advocacy group found that 40 percent had been harassed at work and a majority were not covered by LGBT workplace protection policies.
Supreme Court of India made history on Wednesday when in its judgment it decriminalized homosexuality. A move hailed and loved by the minor LGBT community and supported by thousands in the country.
Social Media was full of colorful love messages and celebrities tweeted and retweeted the triumph of love. India was smiling and many are at peace now.
What next for the LGBT minority?
While the verdict gave many a hope to fight for justice and equality. But this is still a baby step in a fight that is way bigger in a society where many do not even have a say in choosing a partner of a different cast let alone homosexuality.
Decriminalisation of 377 is definitely a step in ensuring equal rights for the LGBT community but the major issue still remains that they have no protected rights at the workplace, and no laws guaranteeing their protection from intimate discrimination at workplace especially in the private sector.
Supreme Court’s Supreme Decision
“The Union of India should take all measures to properly broadcast the fact that homosexuality is not a criminal offense. Create public awareness and eliminate the stigma members of the community have to face,” Supreme Court said in its verdict statement. The court has also asked that the police force should be given periodic training in order to sensitize them about the issue.
“Any discrimination at workplace based on sexual orientation at a workplace is a criminal offense,” the court statement read.
LGBT at workplace
It is a known fact that India has been a homophobic country for quite some time.
In a 2016 survey of 100 Indian LGBT employees was conducted by MINGLE(Mission for Indian Gay and Lesbian Empowerment ), an advocacy group found that 40 percent had been harassed at work and a majority were not covered by LGBT workplace protection policies. And this homophobia for India has come with a huge cost. World Bank estimates that homophobia has cost India 31 billion dollars a year due to lower educational achievements, loss of labour productivity. And added costs of providing healthcare to the poor, stressed, suicidal, and HIV positive members of LGBT society.
Last year Google, IBM and Goldman Sachs created a resource guide titled ‘Creating Inclusive Workplaces for LGBT Employees in India.
It suggested that the LGBT community makes up to 5-10% of India’s workforce. And about 80 per cent of them report domination, homophobic comments, gestures, actions or even physical threats of violence.
What the recruiters think of Homosexuality now
BW People spoke exclusively to a few hiring decision makers at various organisations in order to understand their view on the verdict and how they think the law will make workplace easier and comfortable for the members of the LGBT community. Conduent expressing the company’s views on the development.
“As an organisation that believes in inclusion and diversity, Conduent embraces individual differences knowing that these differences, when positively leveraged, will create a strong and accepting workforce. We believe that our policy of inclusion and diversity creates a more supportive and welcoming ecosystem for all people at our workplaces.”
Commenting on the verdict Kamal Ahluwalia, President Eightfold AI said
“It is a fantastic step for their inclusion in the society and workplace. It will remove biases and preferences from individuals minds and companies and create a better work environment for the community. Now this is the real diversity inclusion at workplace.”
Margaret Dsouza, Head HR, Zeta.
‘’This is a landmark judgement. Organizations can now focus on creating an inclusive culture. Make visible changes to the workplace and revisit the processes and guidelines accordingly. This will encourage employees to be open up and not worry about revealing their sexuality or being judged within the organization.’’
“For the first time I have restored my faith in India’s judicial system. I couldn’t be happier for a few of my friends who are a part of the community. Now they can be as free as I am. India in its true sense is now a democracy and an independent country, “says Natalie Pandit , one of the members of the millennial workforce in India.