The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) is partnering the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) to develop and launch a comprehensive anti-discrimination workplace policy.
This policy includes sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited grounds.
GCCI President, Clinton Urling, made this announcement.
Some of the participants at the GCCI/SASOD seminar at the Hotel Pegasus Guyana.
Wednesday, at a seminar, on “Business and Human Rights: Tackling Workplace Discrimination”, at Hotel Pegasus. The seminar was hosted by GCCI in collaboration with SASOD.
The seminar which targeted sector-leading commercial entities who are members of the GCCI and its allied agencies, sought to sensitize managers and business owners to issues relating to stigma, discrimination and human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace.
Mr. Urling lauded SASOD for its advocacy over the past ten years. This has “certainly informed our citizenry, changed perceptions and attitudes of bigotry and intolerance and have resulted in actions to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity by policy-makers and other stakeholders.”
He added that now it is the private sector’s turn to get involved. He urged his colleagues to grasp as much as possible from the seminar and to return to their various entities and start their own internal discussions on developing, or in some cases strengthening company policies, to eliminate these forms of discrimination, including sexual orientation and gender identity.
Mr. Urling said that it is urgent for own policy-makers in Guyana to advance legislation that would end all forms of discrimination. They should ensure that employers cannot fire or refuse to hire someone based on his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.
“It will not be an easy battle but one in which we have to advance to ensure that the fundamental human rights of all Guyanese are protected. In all these situations it took adaptive changes to effect this. The citizens and people were part of the problem and changing their attitudes and beliefs were key to enacting the necessary legislation. That is the important role of SASOD and what this seminar seeks to do,” Mr. Urling added.
The presenters at the seminar were Zenita Nicholson, SASOD Secretary, who focused on the business efficacy for respecting human rights in the workplace; and Joel Simpson, SASOD Co-Chair, who deliberated on the current legal framework as it relates to human rights and workplace equality in Guyana.
Facilitated by communications specialist and business executive, Ms. Catherine Hughes, M.P., the seminar discussed key issues, including the importance of workplace polices that include protection from discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees, how managers deal with homophobic and transphobic discrimination in the workplace; and externally, how businesses treat their LGBT customers and clients.
There was the first screening of “Sade’ Story,” a new video produced by SASOD in which Guyanese transgender fashion designer, Sade Richardson, candidly shares how her right to work and other basic rights are inhibited the constant transphobic discrimination she faces daily.
GCCI Executive Director, Marissa Lowden, thanked the participants, the organizing team and the donors who made the event possible.
The seminar was supported by the Delegation of the European Union to Guyana, through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, Equal Rights Trust and the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice.