UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
In 2011, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton famously gave a United Nations speech in which she said that gay rights are human rights. Today the U.N. made clear that those rights don't go away in the workplace — and that businesses have an obligation to support such rights in the cities, states, and countries where they operate.
The U.N. Human Rights Office today [September 26, 2017] released standards of conduct for businesses around the world on how to treat lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex employees, suppliers, and customers.
“Social change requires the active involvement of all parts of society — including, critically, the business community,” said U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, speaking to business leaders, activists, and journalists at Microsoft’s New York City headquarters. “The decisions that companies take — whether in respect of human resources, investment, supply chains, even marketing — can have a real and, in some cases, profound impact on human rights.”
The standards include eliminating workplace discrimination, making sure business operations do not contribute to discrimination against customers, suppliers, or members of the public, and working with business partners to address discriminatory practices up and down the supply chain. They also encourage companies to stand up for the rights of LGBTI people in the countries where they operate, including through advocacy and support for local organizations.
Several major companies have already adopted the standards. They include Accenture, Baker McKenzie, BNP Paribas, Coca-Cola, Gap, Godrej, IKEA Group, and Microsoft.
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