Suzanne Sangiovese, commercial and communications director at Riskline, details how employers can create duty of care policies for diverse business travellers
Consider this – 95% of LGBTQ+ travellers have hidden their sexual orientation on a business trip to protect their own safety (SAP Concur). A shocking stat that shows not only how laws and attitudes in some countries continue to affect ease of travel, but also a potential lack of employer support. Many companies currently have inadequate support systems in place with considerations for LGBTQ+ travellers covered by just 9% of travel policies (Ipsos MORI).
LGBTQ+ travellers can face unique challenges when traveling abroad – many countries do not legally recognise same-sex marriage and more than seventy countries consider consensual LGBTQ+ relationships a crime. Attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community vary extensively around the world, and employers therefore need to shape their duty of care polices around a wide range of considerations.
If an employee travels on business to a country where their sexual orientation or how they identify is criminalised, an extra layer of complexity is added to duty of care responsibilities. Employers need to consider how to best protect individuals in a way that doesn’t make them feel singled out.
5 steps to LGBTQ+ traveller safety – In this Pride month of celebration for the LGBTQ+ community, here are 5 steps business travel managers can take to support diverse traveller groups:
1. Pre-Trip Assessment: make sure you have relevant and up to date information to hand to fully understand the traveller’s destination. Review the country’s local laws and customs – in some cases, acceptance can vary dramatically within different regions of the same country.
2. Preparation: it is essential that each individual knows they are being taken care of when travelling on their employer’s behalf. Ensure travellers are well informed ahead of time and aware of the laws that they will be subject to at their destination. Companies will need to make their duty of care information available to everyone, since they can’t ask who their LGBTQ+ employees are and some may want to keep their status confidential.
3. Supplier Engagement: engage your suppliers so they can help you to support staff. Enquire about their own DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) policies and the measures they take for diverse travellers and guests.
4. During Travel: having the right technology in place means you can quickly locate and communicate with travellers at any point during their trip. This may also help to reassure travellers.
5. Post-Trip: post-trip evaluation, such as a survey, will gather data which can help to evolve and refine a duty of care policy.
An employer’s duty of care towards staff will need to continuously evolve as laws change over time but, at this stage, there is still much progress to be made until members of the LGBTQ+ community can travel with complete ease.
Suzanne Sangiovese is commercial and communications director at Riskline.