A recent survey by Total jobs found that 43% of transgender people look for trans-friendly employers when they are job hunting. Employers who adopt HR policies in equality, diversity, gender transition issues, and transgender inclusive healthcare benefits are distinct. Lesbian, gay and bisexual employees may also take an organisation’s trans-friendliness as a good sign that they are welcome there. It is important that all employees know how to treat transgender staff employed in your business and the issues that may arise.
Transgender Staff and Gender Reassignment
Gender reassignment is a ‘protected characteristic’ under the Equality Act 2010. Treating an employee less favourably than others because of gender reassignment is unlawful and is an act of direct discrimination . It is also unlawful to discriminate indirectly by imposing a provision, criterion or practice that disadvantages transgender employees. These need to be justified objectively. The 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. Condor Ferries had advised her to use the disabled toilet when she asked which facilities she should use. Toilet signs with the words ‘Ladies’ and ‘Gents’ on them were also considered to indirectly discriminate against transgender customers.
We believe that it is good practice to give all staff training in Equality and Diversity. It should cover all sorts of issues about treating 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. 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 or email us.
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 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we may help you.