Employers told to strengthen support for LGBTQ+ business travellers

Very few LGBTQ+ business travellers given information on destinations; many report harassment due to sexual orientation, gender identity

Employers told to strengthen support for LGBTQ+ business travellers

Employers are being urged to improve their support for LGBTQ+ business travellers following reports of insufficient pre-trip guidance from businesses.

An Opinium survey of 1,000 US and Canadian business travellers revealed that a few employers provide LGBTQ+ rights information on the countries they are visiting.

Only 15% of US and 11% of Canadian business travellers who have disclosed they are LGBTQ+ said their employers provided information on LGBTQ+ rights of the country they're visiting. The findings are similar to LGBTQ+ business travellers who aren't out at work yet, according to the report.

Frank Harrison, Regional Security Director Americas at World Travel Protection, said organisations must recognise the risks and concerns of their LGBTQ+ business travellers to ensure they feel supported and safe.

"When sending LGBTQ+ employees to parts of the world where their rights are not fully recognised by the host government, there needs to be a plan in place to support them," Harrison said in a statement.

Harassment while on business travel

The findings come as 22% of US and 15% of Canadian business travellers said they have witnessed or experienced harassment due to their sexual orientation and gender identity.

In fact, 21% of US and 17% of Canadian business travellers said they have seen people needing to hide their sexuality while travelling for work due to safety and security reasons.

"We know these are real and valid fears: Members of the LGBTQ+ community can face a range of safety concerns when they travel, including harassment, violence, incarceration, and even barriers to medical and security assistance," Harrison said.

To help keep LGBTQ+ employees safe for work-related travel, Harrison suggested the following measures:

  • Put a plan in place and communicate it clearly to employees. The plan should provide pre-trip information, how to access medical support, and clear protocols in case an incident arises
  • Share the pre-trip guidance to all employees and not just those who are open about their gender identity and sexual orientation
  • Let employees decide whether to travel after getting their pre-travel awareness briefing
  • Foster an inclusive and accepting workplace culture
  • Consult travel risk management experts to help identify risks at locations where employees will get sent to

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