Selene, Greg and Angharad from our Employment Team recently joined recroot as part of their regular HR Forum programme to discuss transgender law and how employers can create an inclusive workplace. Here are some of their top tips:
Understand the terminology
“Transgender” or “trans” are umbrella terms that describe people whose gender does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. Trans people may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, including (but not limited to) transsexual, gender-queer (GQ), gender-fluid, non-binary, gender-variant, genderless, agender, nongender, third gender or bi-gender.
Cisgender is an umbrella term that describes people whose gender identity does correspond to their sex at birth.
The language used is personal to the individual, so do consult with them about the terminology they prefer and what pronouns should be used to describe them.
Understand that everyone is different
It is important to remember that every transgender person will want to approach their transition differently. For example, some employees may wish to undergo their transition publicly, but others will want to be discreet. Communication with those members of staff is therefore key to dealing with the matter sensitively and properly.
It is really important to communicate with any employee that you are aware is transgender or wishes to transition:
- Arrange a confidential meeting with them.
- Ask how they would like to be addressed, who they would like to be told, whether they would like any changes to working practices or to written records.
Review your equal opportunities policy and include a section on gender equality. This can include an explanation of key terms.
You may consider running a general training session on gender equality to raise awareness and ensure that employees understand the terminology and how to behave in the workplace. If there is a transgender employee in the workplace you could also consider targeted training for any staff members who would be working closely with that employee. If you do carry out targeted training then do keep in mind the wishes of the individual concerned and whether they want the rest of the workforce knowing about their transition.
Where possible, allow the employee to choose which bathrooms they use at work (and you should be prepared to consult with other workers to prepare for this). Ideally you do not want to make a transgender person use the disabled facilities on a permanent basis so if the issue is controversial, perhaps consider having some unisex facilities.
Always consider confidentiality. Gender identity issues should be treated as special category data under the GDPR. It is also a criminal offence for an employer to disclose information about an employee’s application for a Gender Recognition certificate.
Please do get in touch with our Employment Team to discuss Transgender law and how employers can create an inclusive workplace.
Katie Harris-Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org ~ 01284 717442)