With the recent introduction of anti-LGBTQ and abortion bans in several states, business travel has become an ever more complex topic for companies and employees who are looking to stay on the right side of the law.
The laws are broadly written, making them difficult to interpret, particularly for companies that operate in multiple states. It’s also created an uneasy balance for companies between their ethical values and their legal obligations.
Take, for example, the recently passed abortion ban in Georgia. The ban largely prohibits abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, even in cases of rape or incest. The law does not discriminate against any gender, but it affects all individuals and families regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
For a company traveling to Georgia on business, the ban raises a difficult question: Should they continue to do business in the state, potentially undercutting their own values, or withhold their business from the state and potentially alienating customers and employees as a result?
The same issues are playing out in other states with anti-LGBTQ legislation. North Carolina, for example, has seen several bills seeking to restrict the rights of the LGBTQ community, and more than 143 companies have since pulled their business from the state.
The situation has left companies in a difficult spot as they attempt to balance their values and their legal obligations. On one hand, businesses have long held strong ethics and standards about how they conduct themselves. At the same time, the laws of each state must be taken into account.
One thing is for certain: Business travel will continue to be an uneasy topic for some time. Companies must tread carefully in order to stay on the right side of the law and remain true to their values. As the laws of various states continue to evolve, companies must be prepared to adapt to the changing business landscape.