Supporting transgender workers

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Health Assured team

24 March 2022

41% of trans men and women said they had experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the last 12 months.

The statistics are shocking and they highlight the need for employer support to create workplace cultures of support that value and accept every individual. Not only that, but it’s also a legal obligation under your duty of care as an employer to do so. 

Gender reassignment is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act (2010), which makes discrimination against transgender workers illegal. Transgender workers are protected from all forms of discrimination including harassment, and victimisation. And you as an employer, have a responsibility to protect them.

Below we’ve outlined some ways that you can support your transgender workers.

Start by learning

Familiarise yourself with the process of gender change. There is more to the process than you might think including social, medical, legal and administrative changes. A legal gender change is also a lengthy process that involves meeting strict requirements. As an employer, it’s important to be sensitive to how these processes might impact an employee’s life at work.

Consider your policies

Your policies outline your approach to equality, diversity and discrimination in the workplace. Start by getting these documents right. Layout your zero-tolerance approach and your do’s and don’ts of employee behaviour. Communicate diversity goals for your organisation and the steps you’ll take to achieve these milestones.

Set up an LGBTQ+ inclusion group

Building a support network in the workplace offers employees a place to raise concerns or issues they might be facing at work. The group can challenge transphobia and lookout for ways that the workplace can provide better support. It also provides a platform for transgender workers to share their stories with others.

Equality and diversity training  

Equality and diversity training can help reduce conflict and misunderstandings between employees. The training reinforces your policies and workplace attitudes. By educating employees on issues faced by LGBTQ+ employees you encourage empathy and understanding between colleagues.

Support the local LGBTQ+ community

Look for sponsorship opportunities at local LGBTQ+ events such as Pride parades and National Coming Out Day. Or why not use LGBT History Month as a springboard to join the Stonewall inclusive workplace programme or start organising regular fundraising or volunteer opportunities for your team members?

Pronoun and name usage

One of the common issues transgender workers face is incorrect pronoun usage. Employers can address this issue by asking staff members to use email signatures that include their desired names and pronouns. This is a more subtle way of approaching the issue and it allows all staff members to learn the correct way to address colleagues and raises awareness of the issues transgender workers might face.

The role of the manager

Gender transitioning is a different process for everyone who goes through it. The length of time it takes will depend on if the employee opts for a medical procedure or not. As a manager, it’s vital that you support employees entirely through this process. You are their direct line in the workplace, so you play a huge role in making employees feel accepted and supported. Ask questions and clarify any information you aren’t sure of. Check-in on the employee regularly and ask them how they want the transitioning process to be handled.

 

Health Assured can help you support transgender workers and provide mental health support for employees who might be struggling with discrimination. Simply get in touch with one of our wellbeing consultants on: 0844 891 0353

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