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Companies learn to become sensitive towards gay staff

Indian companies are becoming more sensitive towards the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, Mahua Venkatesh and Himani Chandna Gurtoo report.

business Updated: Mar 06, 2013 21:39 IST
Mahua Venkatesh and Himani Chandna Gurtoo
Mahua Venkatesh and Himani Chandna Gurtoo
Hindustan Times

Indian companies are becoming more sensitive towards the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Firms, both foreign and domestic, are coming out with policies to sensitise employees about the rights of gay and lesbian employees. Programmes and events including mentoring, client networking exercise, community sponsorships, webcasts to create a healthy and unbiased work culture.

Companies including Citibank India, Google, Accenture India, RPG group and General Electric, among others, have well-defined human resource policies that aim to protect the rights of this group. A senior Citibank executive said that even a simple comment causing embarrassment to an LGBT employee could snowball into a major offence.

“We believe that a diverse workforce is important to bring about innovation and creativity in thought and cater to our users who come from all walks of life,” said Keerthana Mohan, diversity and inclusion manager, Asia Pacific, Google, which runs “The Gayglers” India network — the most active and engaged employee resource group.

The Supreme Court had, in 2012, recognised gay rights.

“Corporate India’s mindset is changing rapidly and all companies are doing their bit to bring in healthy work culture for gay and lesbian employees,” Manoj Kumar, managing partner, corporate law firm Hammurabi & Solomon, told HT.

Many companies have circulated a clear list of policies and guidelines to be followed within office premises. “We have introduced policies to ensure equal treatment of employees, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. We provide training that includes bisexual and gender identity issues,” said Manoj Biswas, human resources lead, Accenture India.

“Relationships and trust are key in our business,” said Amit Das, senior vice-president, HR, RPG. “Hiding something about you can impact trust. We have a policy on equal employment opportunity where all individuals are treated with respect and dignity.”

First Published: Mar 06, 2013 21:37 IST