Line sets first cruise transgender policy

Royal Caribbean’s policy helps transgender employees
Royal Caribbean has launched what is believed to be the cruise industry’s first ‘transgender transformation at work’ policy, along with other initiatives championing diversity.
Grant Van Ulbrich became director of diversity and inclusion at the cruise line, which runs the brands Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, a year ago. He succeeded in making a case to create the role to human resources chief Paul Parker.
Since then, Van Ulbrich, who previously held the role of associate vice-president for onboard revenue and sales, has implemented a number of initiatives focused on diversity.
“The enterprise puts funding behind diversity, which many do not,” he tells TTG. “And that includes funding for the employee resource groups we’ve implemented for diversity. The ERGs launched for North America already have more than 550 members.”
Van Ulbrich is also the driving force behind the company’s Executive Diversity Council, which launched in June 2016. It has 10 senior vice presidents – five women and five men – who are the governing body for diversity and inclusion across the brands.
For the new Transgender Transformation at Work policy, Van Ulbrich liaised with the government of Queensland, Australia, and the transgender research centre at Michigan State University.
“Since I came into the role the word’s been getting out to the fleet and more crew members have been coming out,” he said. “We now know there are at least 27 transgender crewmembers working across the brands.”
A 20-page policy guide covers three areas. The first helps transgender employees “understand what their responsibilities are” in terms of educating teammates and providing advice on how to fill out documentation.
The second is aimed at the people managing the employee, providing education on the proper pronouns to use, and how to foster openness, while the final section gives information to co-workers.
TTG Digital