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Conflict with other Equality Issues

Our LGBT employee network wants to set up a satellite network in India. How do we handle this, particularly given the different attitude towards homosexuality in India?

What the employer did:
The employer explored two options, enabling offshore members to join the main group or setting up a satellite group in India. Eventually, recognising the sensitivities around the issue, the organisation opted for creating a low key satellite group in India.

EFB Comment:

A decision on a matter as sensitive and potentially explosive as this needs to be carefully balanced. Supporting the creation of an offshore satellite risks associating the employer with a cause to which there is hostility, potentially damaging both image and reputation, and stimulating adverse employee relations. There is also the risk that as homosexuality is illegal in this country employees are placed at higher risk of penalty. Maintaining a degree of detachment from the local issues involved, by enabling association with the UK parent network may avoid this and also help the development of the fledgling Indian group, which might learn from the experience of the established LGBT network here in the UK.


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A Muslim woman, who is getting divorced, has told us that she is required to have no contact with men for a period of time. What should we do?

What the employer did:
In this instance, the employer enabled the employee to avoid contact via a combination of annual leave and extending the ability to work from home.

EFB Comment:

Checking out the custom both internally and externally is important (customs may vary within the same religious grouping - so wide consultation is essential); as is taking a measured approach and enabling the employee to understand that any adjustments must be operationally viable.