Wednesday, April 26, 2006


""Stereotypically, private banking was historically very open to gay people, while trading floors were not," said one gay employee of a leading investment bank.
Graduate recruits, for example, who were openly gay at university may not necessarily feel comfortable being "out" when they go into banking.
And as banks become increasingly globalised, they also need to watch their step in countries, such as India for example, where many of them now have big operations and where homosexuality is still a crime."

The article discusses England's increasing protection of discrimination against homosexuals, particularly in the investment banking industry and the private sector. The part of this article that caught my attention has nothing to with this though. I was very intrigued by the last sentence, where it talks about globalized companies need to watch their steps. This brings me to my topic of discussion; what responsibilities do globalized corporations have in maintaining the policies of their societies and laws of their countries in foreign countries with different customs and laws? If an investment bank from America or England were indeed to install a branch in India where homosexuality is outlawed, does the company still have a responsibility to prevent discrimination against homosexuals? Or, for instance, in countries where there are no age discrimination laws, do (and more importantly, should) globalized companies still have the responsibility to safeguard against discrimination of older employees? I think that as a more legally progressive country in terms of employment law, our companies, when branched overseas, should possibly be required to still apply the policies that we use hear to the extent that it does not violate that country's law. What do you think?


Blogger Ginger Tieman said...

This is really tricky, and I do not really have an answer to James’s question. As far as homosexuality goes, I suppose I would say yes, their policies should be uniform. The way I see it, if an American firm already has regulations to protect people from sexual orientation discrimination, they are technically going against the grain. Homosexuals are not a protected class under Title VII, and while not outlawed, as far as the government is concerned, they are not embraced with open arms. Thus, American companies that have regulations to protect homosexuals are already saying they do not agree with the laws (or lack there of) and are taking a stand. Therefore, they should not have any qualms about repeating the message in foreign countries.

This is my opinion, and it is admittedly an ideal one. Two important issues I cannot necessarily rebut are: (1) if we force other companies to follow our practices when doing business in our country (which is what I assume we do), then it would be hypocritical of us to not do the same; and (2) American companies want to be careful of not seeming to ethnocentric.

3:27 PM  

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