As businesses across the country and around the globe scramble to comply with travel bans and shifting regulations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some may find themselves in the unfamiliar position of trying to comply with new abortion and anti-LGBTQ laws as well.
In states like Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, and Kentucky, sweeping abortion bans backed technically by constitutional exemptions have been passed in recent months. Additionally, anti-LGBTQ laws such as the proposed “bathroom bill” in South Dakota are attempting to restrict the rights of individuals to use the restroom they identify with. In Tennessee rules are being proposed that would allow businesses to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
These types of laws can complicate the ability of companies to travel to certain states, in terms of both employee morale and logistical challenges. Even if state regulations do not spell out a formal ban against LGBTQ individuals, businesses may find themselves in the difficult position of navigating local laws that could potentially be overturned and invite costly legal challenges.
To complicate matters further, the laws on abortion vary and are often changed quickly from state to state. Businesses are already dealing with the logistical challenges posed by travel bans and overcrowded airports, those traveling to the south must now also grapple with newly enacted laws that could potentially discriminate against their employees and customers.
As the future of travel remains unpredictable, companies will have to find inventive ways to navigate what is becoming an ever-shifting legal landscape. As business travel slowly starts to pick up again, it is essential to keep a vigilant watch on changing local and state laws that could affect how they operate in specific locations. Companies must also be prepared to quickly adjust their approach if they find themselves in a situation of non-compliance.
Ultimately, it is important for companies to be aware of the specific laws governing the areas that their travel plans include so they can create safe and inclusive conditions for their staff and clients alike. With careful planning, businesses can effectively navigate the complex legal framework in which they now find themselves.