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Employers urged to strengthen support for LGBTQ+ business travelers

Employers must strengthen support for LGBTQ+ business travelers to ensure their safety and well-being during work-related trips.

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Few LGBTQ+ business travelers receive pre-trip information about LGBTQ+ rights.
Many experience harassment and feel the need to hide their sexuality.
Employers should provide pre-trip guidance, foster inclusivity, and consult travel risk experts to ensure LGBTQ+ employee safety.

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Employers are under increasing pressure 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. 

According to the report, 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.  

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. 

To help keep LGBTQ+ employees safe for work-related travel, the Regional Security Director Americas at World Travel Protection suggested the following measures: 

– Put a plan in place and communicate it clearly to employees – such as pre-trip information, how to access medical support, and clear protocols in case an incident arises. 

– Share the pre-trip guidance to all employees. 

– 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 identify potential risks where employees travel to.

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. 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.“
 

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