Companies are coming up with a flexible work culture and several anti-harassment polices.

June is celebrated as Pride Month and is dedicated to the commencement of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender pride. Pride Month began in the aftermath of the Stonewall riots, a series of gay liberation demonstrations in 1969, and has since extended outside the United States. To discuss this, News9 contacted organisations and asked them how they create a friendly and comfortable environment for the community.

Flexible work culture 
According to Codleo’s AVP – HR, Ms Shalini Sharma a flexible/hybrid work culture enhances the psychological safety of the LGBT community. A flexible work culture aids with lowering the impact of inherent biases in workplaces & creates a zone where the LGBT community feels safe & respected. With a flexible/hybrid work culture, the LGBT employees focus on being productive and efficient & being truly professional, rather than being distracted by snide remarks, taunts, or attitudes towards their clothing, mannerisms or personality.

Kunal S., General Manager- OD consulting and facilitation, Marching Sheep said, “The life stages for LGBT people are distinctly different than those experienced by heterosexual people. Right from the struggle of becoming aware, accepting and owning their sexuality, coming out to friends, family, and colleagues, building romantic relationships, creating a supportive ecosystem around friends and family of choice and while managing all this, staying focused on education, career and work-life – everything consumes colossal mental, emotional energy.”

Sharma shared the policies made by HR for a healthy work environment:
1. The codification and implementation of an anti-harassment, violence, abuse and bullying policy. Codleo has one and it has zero tolerance for any violation.
2. The presence of a non-discrimination policy like the one in Codleo where we have a policy of zero tolerance on this matter.
3. No dress code policy, creating gender-neutral bathrooms and so on.

She claims that the management must lead by example and have a zero-tolerance approach to any form of disrespect & incivility.

As per Kunal S, policies provide an essential structural framework to create a healthy work environment. One of the basic and most critical policies LGBT people expect at work is a Non-discrimination and equal opportunity policy that explicitly protects LGBT people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. The scope of the policy must extend across all stages of the employee lifecycle right from hiring to promotion to termination.

  • Grievance Redressal, anti-harassment, anti-bullying policy with a reporting mechanism that is safe, confidential, and sensitive to understand the nuances around discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation.
  • Inclusive Healthcare benefits cover gender-affirming treatments, procedures, and mental health support related to our gender identity, insurance nomination of their partner.
  • Inclusive language and communication to respect the chosen name, not using dead names, using correct pronoun and avoiding misgendering is essential to convey respect.
  • Effective implementation of such policies can only be achieved in spirit by training employees and process owners to bring awareness of unconscious biases, dispel stereotypes and prejudice and sensitize on issues experienced by LGBT people to create a respectful treatment.

Chaitanya Saraf, Founder of SHRIJI Entertainment, believes that private companies remain pivotal in creating inclusiveness for the LGBT communities primarily by encouraging employees to be open about their authentic selves at work. “In fact, they can ensure this by offering them benefits tailor-made for LGBT employees and their close ones,” he said. According to him, it can vary from numerous same-sex partner benefits to gender-affirming healthcare coverage and leave policies that apply to all parents regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.

Saraf continued by saying that acceptance not only comes with these but physical inclusivity too, or to say, companies need to provide them essential facilities without differentiating LGBT employees. Including supplier diversity by getting associated with LGBT-owned businesses and including them in their supply chains. This helps in the economic empowerment of LGBT entrepreneurs and demonstrates a commitment to inclusivity throughout the organization.

“That being said, it’s also important that these actions should further lead to a broader commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion within the company. This thought should start with a holistic approach that addresses the needs of all marginalized groups as that is essential for creating a truly healthy and inclusive environment for everyone,” he said.

A happy and healthy workplace is very important for all as it helps in the mental well-being of every individual.

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