MINGLE | Mission for Indian Gay & Lesbian Empowerment

The Indian LGBT Workplace Climate Survey Report, 2016

The Second Indian LGBT Workplace Climate Survey was conducted with the aim of assessing the workplace environment vis-à-vis LGBT employees in corporate India. While the first such survey in 2012 had revealed many key insights, the second survey sought to follow up on those findings- especially in the context of homosexuality being recriminalized by a Supreme Court ruling in December 2013.

Workplace Diversity & Inclusion has now been widely recognized as a business driver. However, one segment of the employee base that is still largely neglected and their presence unrecognized at least in the Indian workplace– is that of LGBT employees. The Supreme Court ruling on Section 377 has also hurt the pace of progress on this issue.

Section 377 of Indian Penal Code does not criminalize LGBT identity and hence initiatives that promote inclusion of LGBT employees – such as constituting Employee Resource Groups- do not pose any legal risk for the companies, however risk-averse organizations have taken a safer route by not taking any steps in this regard. On the other hand, some multinationals- especially those based in the US and Europe are bringing LGBT-friendly policies into their Indian offices as well.

This survey focused on three sectors of the economy- Information Technology, Banking & Finance and FMCG & Manufacturing. Hundred respondents from various Indian and foreign multinational companies participated in the survey that showed interesting results. The results were a mixed bag - more than half of LGBT Indians we surveyed could be legally fired from their jobs for being LGBT. Only a small minority- 4% are covered by same-sex partnership benefits, unsurprisingly, for a country which does not recognize same-sex partnerships. The fact that 40% reported having faced some form of harassment for being LGBT remains an issue of concern.

The survey also reaffirms the perception that openly LGBT employees are better contributors and feel safer at the workplace compared to those who are closeted. The survey shows that openly LGBT employees- as compared to their closeted counterparts- have greater trust in their employers, have greater satisfaction with their rate of promotion, feel more loyal to their organization and are more likely to continue with the same company for a longer period of time.

With better awareness on LGBT issues, and more openness in the workplace, we are seeing a wider representation of LGBT employees though the numbers for lesbian & transgender employees is low, which also reflects the gender diversity gap in the workforce. The survey team believes these results show our corporate bodies a glimpse of the workplace environment from the perspective of their LGBT employees. Undoubtedly as more organizations see the value of LGBT inclusion at workplace, they will work towards creating an inclusive workplace.

Click here to download the Survey report