During a session on workplace diversity at the TTG LGBT Conference, Stonewall’s head of private sector membership programmes, Vicky Hayden, said companies had a “duty to protect staff” across their global operations.
More than 70 countries do not permit sexual relations with somebody of the same gender, and it can be punishable by death in eight of those countries.
“You might not be able to have a Pride parade or put the rainbow flag up, but you can still protect people,” added Hayden.
She said this included training staff on inclusivity, putting in emergency procedures and creating “safe spaces” on inhouse intranet services to allow LGBT employees to discuss issues.
John Licence, vice-president – premium and select brands Europe for Marriott International, said the hotel firm promoted diversity and inclusivity across all properties regardless of their location.
“We have hotels in most countries – all of these hotels have those values and respect diversity,” he said. “We have training programmes to make sure everybody is aware of our policies. We look after our people and care about everyone. We make sure they are comfortable, as well as our customers.”
Licence said some of Marriott’s “lifestyle” brands, such as W and Moxy, appealed to more diverse communities in destinations where LGBT rights are less advanced, and cited W’s property in Jordan.
“You have to use common sense,” he said. “We give them [LGBT customers] the support, but it has to be based on being sensible.”
Asked about the impact of Marriott’s merger with Starwood on its LGBT policies, Licence added: “We have taken the best things from both companies and merged them to make us even stronger.”