The first standard in the world to assist organisations achieve a truly inclusive workplace has been published by Standards New Zealand.
NZS 8200:2015 Rainbow-inclusive workplaces: A standard for gender and sexual diversity in employment outlines the requirements to be met for organisations to be recognised as inclusive and safe workplaces for people of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity. International research shows that people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, takatāpui, queer, and intersex (LGBTTQI) communities still face discrimination and exclusion in the workforce; in recruitment, retention, training, and advancement opportunities. This is an infringement of human rights.
There is also research that indicates that workplaces that support and encourage staff to be authentic and bring the whole of themselves to work perform better than those where people feel they must hide a central aspect of themselves. Application of our standard will enable organisations to be assessed as safe and inclusive.
A wide cross section of agencies were represented on the committee that developed NZS 8200 including Rainbow Wellington, Affinity Services, gQ Network, and union and business representatives.
The standard sets out five categories of criteria to be met and can be applied across organisations of all sizes. It is an important step in the process of achieving equity in employment.
Michael Stevens, Programme Director, The Rainbow Tick, who was chair of the development committee for NZS 8200, said the standard was a world first and it was wonderful that New Zealand was leading the way in this aspect of workplace safety and inclusion.
‘We know for a fact that many Rainbow community members do not currently feel able to be themselves at work and waste time and energy in pretending to be someone they are not. Members of our community still report incidents of bullying and discrimination at work. Given the legal obligation of employers to provide a safe working environment, this should be of concern.
‘Implementing this standard will help employers create safe workplaces where their staff can be themselves, be happier at work, and thus be more productive.’