In an age of increasing business travel, the increased prevalence of abortion bans and anti-LGBTQ laws presents a new challenge for businesses around the world. The number of states and countries enacting these laws has spiked in recent years, sometimes creating a conflict between the company’s desire to conduct international business, and the limitations and complications that arise from the anti-worker laws.
Leaders in the private sector are joining local activists in advocating for policies that protect their employees from discrimination based on sex, gender identity, and reproductive choices. In addition to ensuring the safety of their employees, they are also recognizing that these restrictive laws can have a negative impact on the organization’s standing in the global marketplace.
The presence of restrictive anti-LGBTQ laws can limit the ability of a company to expand its customer base or facilitate international trade. For example, many businesses in the United States that ship products or services to international customers face an additional challenge if a country where their customer is located has an anti-LGBTQ law in place that could be seen as a potential violation of the company’s values.
These laws can also directly affect corporate travelers. In some instances, a business may want to send an employee to a destination that has enacted anti-LGBTQ or reproductive health bans. The affected employee may fear for their safety or refusal of service based on their identity. As a result, companies must carefully research destinations before authorizing travel that could be impacted by such laws.
In contrast, countries and states with more progressive pro-worker laws such as the ones already in place in the European Union (EU), can give businesses access to new markets while being an attractive destination for corporate travel. For example, in the EU, all member states must guarantee freedom of movement, equality in labor relations, and gender equality. Additionally, the European Court of Justice recently ruled that employees cannot be discriminated against based on their gender identity or sexual orientation.
These are just a few of the ways in which restrictive abortion bans and anti-LGBTQ laws can complicate business travel. As global initiatives evolve, businesses should pay close attention to local developments and research destinations before sending their employees. With the right preparation, companies can ensure that their workers have a safe and productive international business experience.