Topic: Business

Companies urged to support LGBTTI employees

By Jessica Tyson
  • Auckland

Top diversity experts say New Zealand companies need to do more to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, takatapui and intersex employees.

Anna Stove, who is on the board of Global Women, says only 35 of the country’s biggest companies have a certification showing they are willing to recruit from this group.

She says every employee has the right to be able to work in a safe and inclusive workplace and that the responsibility of providing this sits at the top.

“Achieving company-wide diversity is a process which requires a significant investment in training and policy making.”

She says achieving organisational diversity means more than just a token effort and businesses need to make a public statement of support.

Director of the Rainbow Tick programme Michael Stevens, says one of the key barriers to implementing change is getting middle management on board.

He agrees with Stove that more needs to be done to encourage businesses to go through a companywide diversity and inclusion audit as a first step.

“Another obstacle can be if people think we are trying to change their personal views – we are not. People are entitled to hold onto their religious or personal view, but the employer is stating that ‘in this workplace, this is the professional behavior that is expected’,” he says.

The call has come during the two-week Auckland Pride Festival which ends this Sunday.