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How can companies tackle LGBTI discrimination in the workplace?

  • 17.05.2018

Around 30% of LGBTI employees say they have seen instances of homophobic discrimination in the workplace and 73% avoid discussing their private life at work. BNP Paribas Group has adopted the UN standards against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity—in line with its Diversity and Inclusion policy and with the aim of integrating all people within its company.

A global charter to support anti-discrimination efforts in business

In September 2017, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (HCHR) published its standards of conduct for tackling discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in the workplace. Businesses adhering to these standards commit to following several rules: 

  1. respect human rights
  2. eliminate all forms of discrimination within their organization
  3. provide proactive support to LGBTI employees
  4. ensure compliance with these principles by all stakeholders at every link in the value chain
  5. serve as a committed player within their sphere of influence

The reality of discrimination in the workplace in France

  • According to a recent study by Ifop (Institut Français d'opinion publique)*, 29% of employees—homosexual and heterosexual alike—say that LGBTI people face inequality in their career development. 
  • In terms of pay, homosexual men earn 5-6% less on average than heterosexual men in France. 
  • Only 30% of LGBTI claiming to be “visible” are so for all their colleagues.
  • 73% of LGBTI who want to be "invisible" avoid discussing their private life at the office. 14% let others believe they are heterosexual, even if it means depriving themselves of certain rights (marriage, children, etc.).
*Study conducted by Ifop in December 2017 among 6,700 employees, heterosexual and homosexual alike, on the topic of LGBTI integration in the workplace, on behalf of the association “Autre Cercle”.  

BNP Paribas commits to creating an inclusive work environment 

BNP Paribas adheres fully to the UN standards by adopting its main principles. To elaborate on these norms, the Group notably worked with Autre Cercle, an LGBTI association and UN partner working to create a more inclusive and respectful world for all people from every background. 

For several years, the Group has pursued its commitment to combatting homophobia and transphobia with the aim of guaranteeing an inclusive work environment for all employees. 

  • In 2015, it made diversity a central priority of its “BNP Paribas Way”, which defines the company’s main values. In that same year, BNP Paribas signed Autre Cercle’s “LGBT commitment charter”, which aims to create an inclusive environment for LGBTI employees. In France, the Group also encouraged the creation of its professional network Pride, which is open to all employees concerned with promoting LGBTI inclusion at the company.  
  • In 2016, the Group signed its second corporate agreement in favor of diversity and inclusion, for a duration of three years. Like its predecessor, the new agreement works to guarantee equal treatment based solely on each person’s skills and performance, regardless of origin, sex, customs, sexual orientation or gender identity.

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