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Updated: January 18, 2013 09:58 IST

More LGBT-friendly policies sought in IT sector

Staff Reporter
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NASSCOM summit discusses their inclusion in companies

“I was doing very well in office when I had to suddenly cut short my career. My colleagues constantly discriminated against me, and many team leaders subjected me to harassment once I ‘came out’,” said Mohan Natarajan, who worked as a software engineer at a leading Bangalore-based IT company.

Mr. Natarajan, who was speaking at the NASSCOM Diversity and Inclusion Summit 2013 here on Thursday, spoke about the discrimination he faced from his team members and leaders after he told them he was gay. “It affected my career adversely and when I raised these points at my exit interview, I was told that they couldn’t help me in any way. The company said they will do as required by the law but cannot deal with other issues,” he said.

His testimony at the session focussed on ‘employing and effectively including the LGBT community’, which triggered a discussion on what companies can and can’t do to create a better environment.

Shubha Chacko, member of Aneka, a Bangalore-based non-governmental organisation, emphasised the need for more LGBT-friendly policies in the sector.

Company heads, senior employees and HR personnel gathered to share best industry practices and compare notes on inclusivity programmes in IT companies. Keynote speaker and president of NASSCOM Som Mittal said in terms of gender and inclusivity, the industry had an excellent track record. “We’re happy to see that we’ve done well. With around 9,00,000 women, this is a large number and perhaps the largest in the corporate sector. Many women are also making it to the top,” he said.

He spoke on new dimensions to inclusivity that the industry body was looking at, such as focussing on “the regional aspect” or on creating an inclusive atmosphere for people from different religions.

“These things are small but relevant. For instance, the regional aspect comes into play when employees start to group up. So some companies have imposed a fine of Rs. 100 for speaking in regional languages in the work place. This is done in a very informal way and with the motive of keeping the workplace inclusive,” he said.

Earlier, awards were given away to companies that have adopted and implemented inclusive policies. The NASSCOM Corporate Awards for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion 2013 were given to eight companies across different categories: Broadridge Financial Solutions India (Best IT services and product company-less than 5,000 employees); Nucleus Software Exports Ltd. (Best IT services and product company–less than 5,000 employees); SAP Labs India (Best IT services & product company-large player); RR Donnelley India Outsource Pvt. Ltd. (Best BPO company-less than 5,000 employees); Genpact India (Best BPO company-more than 5,000 employees) and Quattro Global Services Ltd. (the most innovative programme).

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