The number of individuals who undergo gender reassignment (or transition) is relatively small. Many businesses are, therefore, unlikely ever to deal with an employee who is transitioning and, for those that do, it may be a one-off situation. However, where the situation does arise, employers need to ensure that they comply with the applicable law and deal with it with care and consideration. Following good practice will help to make the transition for the transgender employee, work colleagues and clients as smooth as possible.
A transgender (or trans) person is someone who does not identify with the gender assigned to them at birth. The term transgender includes people who have transitioned or are transitioning from their assigned gender to the gender that matches their gender identity, but can also include people who do not intend to undergo gender reassignment. Some transgender people identify as “non-binary”, i.e. they do not regard their gender identity as exclusively male or female.
Good practice will include:
- Taking into account that gender reassignment is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 and that individuals who have undergone gender reassignment may apply for a gender recognition certificate.
- Being aware of the data protection obligations relating to information about gender reassignment under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
- Appointing a contact person to manage the process of transition from the organisation’s perspective. This should be a person with a good relationship to the employer and have the ability to keep their confidence.
- Ensuring that the contact person and the employee agree a written action plan to manage the transition.
- Making sure that time off because of gender reassignment is treated no less favourably than absence because of sickness.
- Discussing with the employee what information should be provided to colleagues and clients about their transition and when this should be provided.
- Considering whether or not any issues arise from the organisation’s dress code or single-sex facilities.
- Compiling a list of records and systems that must be amended.
- Ensuring that you do not disclose information about an employee’s gender reassignment without their consent.
- Being aware of the implications of gender reassignment on insurance and pensions.
If we can help you with this or any other HR issue, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our HR Team at HR Services Scotland Ltd on 0800 652 2610