Where to Live and Work If You Are Pro-Diversity and Anti-Discriminatory

If there is any one thing global mobility professionals look for that will make their assignees feel at home, it’s an environment that nurtures diversity and provides a welcome mat to various cultures, races, and creeds.

The reason is obvious:  a foreign national relocating to a US state would immediately feel how he is different from the rest of the crowd. He could be the sole vegetarian in a company of hamburger lovers, or a devoted follower of a religion in a neighborhood populated by agnostics and atheists.

While the assignee may make the effort to conform to the prevailing culture, or adjust to the state’s practices, he will certainly maintain and live by the faith, principles, and traditions that are an integral part of his identity.  As a professional who wants to make his mark in his current workplace, he will perform at his peak performance if he feels that the culture that sets him apart is at least respected, if not totally accepted.

Northern California is one such region.  The plurality of cultures, a product of immigration influx throughout the many generations, can easily make an assignee feel welcome. The Gold Rush in the 19th century drew in a lot of people around the world who had wanted to start again and make a better life for themselves and their families.

Their modern-day descendants make up the interracial communities in the state, including  Australian, Canadian, Chinese, French, Hawaiian, Irish, Italian,  Kiwi, and Latin American. Take a  lengthy trip around the state with your assignee, shop in its markets, and dine in its restaurants, and inevitably you’d hear any one of these languages from these communities being spoken, especially from  recent arrivals who speak Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese.

Northern Californian laws likewise support the culture of diversity that has sprung in the region. The state prides itself on having one of the strongest anti-discrimination legal environments in the United States.  It passed the Unruh Civil Act in 1959, which prohibits any company in the state from refusing service to any individual based on color, creed, race, ethnicity, or culture. A non-Caucasian assignee then would not feel any reservations or apprehensions about walking into a bar, a restaurant, or a shop.  Rejection or being turned away at the door would be the least of his problems. It certainly does make the job of a global mobility professional easier, especially those who are assigned to take him on a tour of the city, wine and dine him and/or his family, and guide him around.

Assignees working in Northern California would also be happy to learn that the company they work for will not tolerate any kind of discrimination, in compliance with the law.  The new Anti-Discriminatory and Anti-Harassment Policy Regulations recently expanded its protective categories to shield people from discriminatory practices based on the following:  “race, religious creed, color, national origin, age, ancestry, physical and/or mental disability (including HIV and AIDS), medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex (childbirth, breastfeeding and medical conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding), gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, and military and/or veteran status.”

Combine the cultural diversity and a healthy respect for the law, and you have communities that will not only welcome your assignee and make him feel at home—they will also make him feel that the cultures and practices he values are respected.  And that may be one of the biggest incentives you can offer him, for relocating to Northern California.