- Companies should develop action plans specifically to protect their LGBT employees as they travel overseas, particularly in countries where LGBT relationships and lifestyles are looked-down upon or illegal, Mike Kelly, CEO of On Call International, told SHRM.
- Ensure that your LGBT employees are particularly cautious about their visas and papers. The State Department recommends that any LGBT workers travelling with minor children should carry their custody papers, Kelly says.
- Kelly also recommends that employers should “proactively plan” for any issues that could arise while their employee is overseas, including having a point contact person.
In many places throughout the world, members of the LGBT community are well-accepted and treated equally. Some countries with important business ties to the U.S., however, still frown on their “way of life,” Kelly says. Employees need to take extra care in Iran, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality can be punished with death. Sudan, Uganda, and other African nations are also dangerous for LGBT employees. A slew of other countries, including Russia, Iraq and Lithuania, still have laws on the books that can get LGBT people in legal trouble, and while India and Jamaica no longer legally punish LGBT people, the countries still tend to view same-sex relationships as taboo.
HR should try and provide as much information to their traveling employees as they can. Kelly recommends the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex association website as a good resource. Planning ahead for any potential emergencies that may arrive is important for all traveling employees, regardless of sexual orientation, including arranging a contact either within the company or with an outside travel-risk management firm.