LGBTQ Attacks in East Europe at Odds With Companies, Survey Says

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Rising attacks on the rights of the LGBTQ community in parts of eastern Europe contrast with a corporate push in the region for greater diversity in the workplace, according a survey of human-resource professionals.

A majority of HR staff surveyed last year at mid-sized to large companies said their employers were “committed” or “extremely committed” to having a diverse workforce, according to a report published on Tuesday by Open for Business, a coalition of global companies including Facebook, Ikea and Deutsche Bank. Almost a third said the commitment to diversity had strengthened in the past three years.

“Companies in the region are embracing diversity and making it part of their corporate cultures, often in contrast to political and cultural environments in these countries that are not as open or welcoming,” according to the report, which surveyed 190 HR staff in Hungary, Poland, Romania and Ukraine.

Ruling-party politicians in both Poland and Hungary -- the only two countries currently under a European Union probe for the perceived erosion of the rule of law -- have led the charge in curtailing LGBTQ rights. More than 80 municipalities in Poland have declared themselves LGBT-free zones. In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has effectively banned the adoption of children by same-sex couples and barred gay marriage.

Greater commitments to diversity generally correlate with more competitive economies and businesses with higher shareholder values that are better at retaining talent, the report said.

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