Information for employers.
Legal protection and good practice for gender variant, transsexual and transgender people in the workplace
This document explains the law and good practice in regard to gender variant, transsexual and transgender employees, and the issues that an employer has to address when employees propose to change their gender role on a permanent basis. Employers should expect about 1% of the workforce to experience and/or express their gender in ways that do not conform to the typical binary man/woman model. Many of these will not disclose their feelings, and may choose not to express them in the workplace because they fear a transphobic reaction from their employers and co-workers. Nonetheless, 25 per 100,000 in the general population have already sought medical treatment and this number appears to be doubling every six years.
Most employers are aware of the need to show a positive approach to transgender people and other groups with ‘protected characteristics’. An accepting environment in which diversity is celebrated, ensures that valuable staff are recruited and retained. Yet, at present 40% of the people who would like to transition feel unable to do so in the work environment, and are, therefore, working under great stress and are unlikely to reach their potential.
Providing a welcoming environment in which valuable staff are recruited and retained benefits everybody, not just the groups specifically targeted. Where a protected characteristic is under-represented, it is possible for employers to take positive action to encourage members of this group to apply for jobs by advertising in an inclusive way. When candidates are being considered for a job, or for promotion, a person with a protected characteristic may now be selected in preference to others, provided that he or she is as well qualified other candidates. However, automatic preference of a protected applicant is not permitted.
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