If you have transgender staff employed in your business you may be wondering what the legal situation is.
A recent survey by job board Total jobs found that 43% of transgender people actively look for trans-friendly employers when they’re job hunting. In particular they are interested in such things as employers that adopt inclusive HR policies in equality and diversity, gender transition guidelines, and transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits. Lesbian, gay and bisexual people may also take an organisation’s trans-friendliness as a good sign that they’ll be welcome there. It is important that all employees know how to treat transgender staff employed in your business and issues that may be raised.
Gender reassignment is a ‘protected characteristic’ under the Equality Act 2010. It is unlawful to directly discriminate against employees by treating them less favourably than others because of gender reassignment. It is also unlawful to discriminate indirectly by imposing a provision, criterion or practice that disadvantages transgender employees and which cannot be justified objectively. These provisions also extend to businesses supplying goods and services to transgender members of the public.
In a recent tribunal case, Bisson v Condor Ferries, a transgender passenger succeeded in claiming direct discrimination against a cross-channel ferry company which had advised her to use the disabled toilet when she asked which facilities she should use. Signs with the words ‘Ladies’ and ‘Gents’ which the company was using to indicate its toilets were also held to indirectly discriminate against transgender customers.
We believe that it is good practice to give all staff training in Equality and Diversity which will cover all sorts of issues and talks about people as individuals rather than singling out transgender staff employed in your business.
The most important thing is simply that transgender people are treated with the same respect as anyone else, but if you need more advice on any issues regarding equaility or transgender staff employed in your business then give us a call on 01706 565332.w
Metis HR is a professional HR Consultancy based in the North West of England supporting clients across the country. We specialise in providing outsourced HR services to small and medium-sized businesses. Call us now on 01706 565332 to discuss how we may help you.