Workplace diversity measures must be trans inclusive


This guide outlines important information for transgender employees to negotiate true workplace diversity measures.

When it comes to diversity in the workplace, there has certainly been a focus in recent years on providing the best possible environments for those considered to have special needs. While being transgender isn’t a disability, it is clear to see that there needs to be a fresh approach to how a myriad of things are dealt with within many businesses.

Workplace diversity for trans people

Important information for transgender employees

If you are transgender, it is important to understand that the company you work for has a responsibility to provide you with a safe and inclusive workspace where you can feel comfortable and respected, but what you may not know is that they can be approached from a legal standpoint if you don’t think that this workplace diversity is the case.

This can cover a host of areas, such as feeling discriminated against during the hiring process, not feeling like appropriate dress codes are set out, a lack of training and understanding within the workplace for trans-specific diversity and even support when transitioning (often in terms of leave).

Current legislation suggests that, under the Equality Act 2010, a person has protected characteristics of gender reassignment whether they are fully transitioned or are in the process of undergoing medical treatment to reassign their sex (you will not have to provide proof of any treatment to be awarded rights, however).

The Act protects against the discrimination of, harassment, or even victimisation of individuals, whether they identify as male or female, gender fluid, or non-binary. It can also cover those with gender-related conditions such as gender dysphoria.

What should be provided by businesses to support trans workers?

Transgender workers have as much right to feel appreciated and secure in the workplace as anyone else, so businesses should be offering the following (or beginning to offer these at the very least) to truly achieve workplace diversity:

  • Easy access to absence leave and time off
  • A well-defined dress code or uniform that all individuals feel comfortable wearing
  • Equality monitoring during the hiring process
  • Employer/employee confidentiality
  • An open discussion with a trusted member of staff to communicate the nuances of being transgender, such as pronouns, so that the employee can feel respected
  • Equal opportunities policies for hiring and in the workplace
  • Training for HR and line managers
  • Providing safe, well-defined toilets (and washing and changing facilities where applicable)

How to tackle transphobia or discrimination in the workplace

On a more personal level, some of the best things you can do to ensure a more inclusive workplace diversity is to seek help when issues arise. It’s a sad fact that around 88% of workplaces don’t have any trans-specific policies, so it can be especially worthwhile to reach out to peers, HR departments and even seek legal advice to ensure that your needs get met.

While it is important for you to voice how you feel and reach out to an employment lawyer if you have grounds for a case, remember that you shouldn’t be the one driving workplace diversity change. The company you work for also needs to be taking the initiative and updating/implementing strategies to accommodate for the shift in workplace safety and sentiment.

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