A real issue in the workplace today is the lack of understanding in relation to gender reassignment. Employers make self-conscious attempts to cater for transgender workers when in reality, it results in bosses’ tip-toeing around trying not to offend anyone, which in effect marginalizes transgender employees even more.
Transgender issues can still cause a lot of anxiety amongst employees and it can make them feel extremely uncomfortable in the workplace. However, its is an area of fear amongst employers about what they do, how they do it and whether they may get it wrong.
If an organisation has policies and guidelines put in place, any situation that arises can be approached consistently and appropriately. This will help to educate the employee so there is no confusion in the future. Employers should also ensure the situation is dealt with sensitivity, care and it must be kept confidential. Another reason for having a policy is it ensures equality. It will also help to improve the employee’s productivity and performance and will also enhance the company’s reputation.
All businesses should ensure there is an open, inclusive and supportive environment in their workplace which is free from discrimination. Employers need to make it clear to everyone in the workplace that behaving in a discriminatory manner can be treated as a criminal offence and is also a bad reflection on the company. The employers must be prepared to deal with any issues arising with dignity and respect for all.
Not only does this support all employees but it ensures the organisation are acting in accordance to the Equality Act 2010. This legislation protects any employee transitioning or any transgender man or woman from unfair treatment in the workplace.
The employer needs to gain an understanding of any concerns the employee has regarding the transitioning process and any perceived impact on the workplace and their colleagues. The employer can also assure the staff member of the different methods of support they have internal and external from the business. Employer could offer a safe place for people in the business to discuss their fears and anxieties about the transitioning.
A big issue for transitioning and transgender men and women is the use of toilets. Some employers will say for transgender employees to use the disabled toilets without thinking how offensive it can come across. It’ll make the employee feel different because they have to use a different toilet from their colleagues and this should be avoided at all costs. The employer should discuss with the employee which toilets they’d feel most comfortable in using.
The anticipated timeframes involved with the transitioning process need to be made clear so the employer knows when the employee won’t be able to attend work. The employer must also assure the worker on their right to privacy or agree how the employer and/or the employee will inform their colleagues about the transition, and when this will be done.
If you have any queries regarding gender reassignments, please contact a member of the HPC team on 0844 800 5932 or email: email@example.com.
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