On November 12th, Ukraine’s lawmakers granted workplace protections for the LGBT community. The new clause added to Ukraine’s Labor Code bans workplace discrimination on the basis of “race, colour, political, religious and other beliefs, sex gender identity, sexual orientation…”
While Ukraine is not known as one of the most LGBT friendly countries, this legislation is definitely a step in the right direction. However, the motivation for the new workplace protections may be more strategic than simply altruistic. The European Union requires certain anti-discrimination laws to be enacted before entry into the Schengen Zone, and Ukraine appears very interested in gaining this visa free travel.
Not all members of parliament were supportive of the new protections, though. Parliament’s Speaker, Volodymyr Hroysman stated that lawmakers “stand for family values and will never support gay marriage.” Fortunately, he was not in the majority on this vote.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced: “Ukraine is breaking free from the shackles of discrimination from the Soviet past.”
Elton John also weighed in: “AMAZING News!!! Back in September, I flew to the Ukraine to speak to business leaders and President Poroshenko about improving rights for LGBT people. One of the things I asked was to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace. Yesterday the Ukrainian parliament passed a law supporting this!!!”