Workers are protected against transgender discrimination via the Equality Act 2010.
People who choose to live their lives, whether it be personally, socially or via transition or gender reassignment as a different gender from that which they were at birth are protected in the workplace.
Whether a transgender person is undergoing or has been through gender reassignment or not, they are protected by the law and should not be treated differently or discriminated against because of this.
For example, if a man chooses to live as a woman, but does not go though any medical or surgical processes they are still protected in the workplace under the Equality Act 2010.
The discrimination can take many forms which are covered below:
This is when a person is treated differently to other workers because of their transgender status. You are suffering direct transgender discrimination, if you are treated less favourably because:
- You are undergoing gender reassignment;
- People think or perceive that you might be undergoing gender reassignment;
- People associate you with another person that is undergoing gender reassignment. This is called discrimination by association.
This is when a employer applies rules or procedures in the workplace that will put a person who is or is becoming transgender at a disadvantage when compared to other workers.
If an employee is treated less favourably or victimised because of having made a complaint or highlighted the fact that transgender discrimination exists.
If a transgender employee needs to take time off work to undergo gender reassignment, they should not be treated differently to those workers who take time off work for sickness or injury.
Employers also need to ensure that:
- They do not discriminate during the recruitment process;
- They pay equally;
- They train transgender staff to the same level as other employees;
- They ensure they do not discriminate in promotion selections;
- They treat disciplinary and grievance procedures in the same way as they would all other employees;
- They stop bullying and harassment of transgenders in the workplace;
If a transgender employee suffers harassment and bullying from other members of staff which cause humiliation, offence and distress then this would also classify as transgender discrimination.
Employers should ensure that they:
Provide good communication in the workplace relating to transgender discrimination by including rules and practices which promote acceptance of transgender individuals and make it clear that harassment and victimisation are unacceptable and against the law.
Provide support to workers who are undergoing or that have undergone gender reassignment.
Provide confidentiality with regard to all personal records. They should be changed at the appropriate time, decided by the employee and previous personal records should be destroyed or deleted unless they are required to be retained for whatever reason.
Tom Street qualified as a solicitor in 2003 and has over 20 years experience in employment and litigation law. He studied law at the University of Manchester before undertaking the legal practice course at the College of Law in Guildford, going on to complete his legal training at a firm in Chancery Lane, London. Once fully qualified, he moved to a niche litigation practice in the City of London.
In 2010, Tom set up his own legal practice, Tom Street & Co Solicitors and as part of this, in accordance with his strongly held objective to provide everyone with an easy pathway to justice he established the online portals Do I Have A Case? and Tribunal Claim. These websites are trading names of Tom Street & Co Solicitors.