How best to support trans employees in the workplace
Acas, (the Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service), is committed to promoting diversity and respect in the workplace for all employees, regardless of their personal characteristics. The body has recently published a report setting out the latest research on “Supporting trans employees in the workplace”.
The report was prepared by the Institute for Employment Studies with the support of various large employers in both the private and public sectors. Their research explores how gender identity is managed in UK workplaces and how it could be improved.
Supporting trans employees in the workplace
The research sets out:
- the UK employment landscape for trans people;
- the legal position under the Equality Act 2010 and the Gender Recognition Act 2004;
- policies and practices in the workplace as well as attitudes, awareness and behaviours;
- what “good practice” employers do;
- the barriers, challenges which obstruct greater inclusion of trans or intersex employees; and
- how employers, trans or intersex employees could be better supported.
The research document also includes case studies. The lessons learnt by others will be invaluable to employers and trans or intersex employees.
Key points made by the research for supporting trans employees
The following comments made in the report are worth noting:
- “Good practice was … roundly agreed to be action which goes above and beyond what is enshrined in law,” (see paragraph 1.2.)
- Employers need employment policies that specifically consider the needs of trans employees. These may relate to a workplace transition or to day-to-day life at work, (see paragraph 1.3)
- Any disclosure of trans identity or past should be controlled by the individual in question. They should decide who is told, when, what and under what circumstances, (see paragraph 1.3)
- Lack of knowledge in the workplace is one of the biggest barriers, (See paragraph 1.4) Raising awareness of trans or intersex issues and educating the workforce is therefore essential to promote better inclusion.
- Practical barriers such as toilet facilities, data management and dress codes also need to be addressed.
You can find a link to the report here.
How can we help?
Ensuring equality in the workplace and meeting the needs of trans employees requires both sensitivity and a good knowledge of the relevant laws. Our team can guide you on the legal requirements and help you implement policies that go above and beyond the law - as appropriate - to help you ensure each individual’s rights are protected and respected.
Further information and recent articles
- Transgender issues and avoiding discrimination: new guides for employers, employees and service providers (19 January 2016)
- The House of Commons, Women and Equality Commission report on Transgender Equality (14 January 2016)
- Providing services for transgender customers (A government guide, November 2015)
- Government guide ‘Recruitment and Retention of Transgender Staff, (26 November 2015)
- Guidance for those who work for law firms: see this Law Society guidance
- ACAS has published guidance on Gender Reassignment discrimination (here)
Contact us for guidance and help
If you need guidance on implementing gender equality laws and good practice or help in preparing suitable workplace policies, contact Susan Mayall on 0161 684 6948 or make an enquiry.
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Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.
This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.