A recent survey conducted by Totaljobs found that just under half (43%) of transgender people look for trans-friendly employees when they’re searching for a new job. It’s important that employers cater to all groups covered by the acronym LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender). It’s also vital that employers understand individuals in each group, who may have different needs. HR plays a key role in preventing discrimination against transgender people and its important they can educate employers on this.
Employers should have a clear diversity policy that is visible to all employees in an organisation. It should be stated in the employment handbook so it is easily accessible by everyone at the business. There should also be a clear contact point for anybody who is concerned that individuals in a business are violating the policy. Employers need to make it clear that the organisation will not tolerate anyone discriminating or harassing a transgender employee. This will help to decrease workplace bullying.
Research shows that transgender people are harassed all the time and this can be very damaging to them, especially in the workplace. It could result in a decline in employee’s performance and a lack of motivation to go to work knowing that they will spend their day being harassed by their colleagues.
Any complaint made by a transgender employee should be investigated immediately. If any complaint is ignored or disregarded, it is likely to decrease the employee’s satisfaction and it could damage the business’ reputation if it is taken any further. Problems in the workplace will not go away by themselves and transgender employees deserve the business’ protection.
Employers can be proactive in creating an inclusive workplace. It’s important everyone in the workplace respect the pronouns (terms like ‘he’ and ‘she’) that the transgender employee prefers. All data systems should be updated with the employee’s new information, for example, their title and new name. If an employer gets this wrong, it will make the employee feel as if they aren’t being supported.
An employee planning on going through the transitioning process or who plans to have surgery will need time off. This means they should be treated the same way as an employee who needs time off work due to a health-related issue. Once an employee is undergoing the transitioning process or has completed it, they will need time off for appointments, therefore they shouldn’t be discriminated against because of this.
It’s essential that employers should continue to listen and seek feedback from the transgender employees so they know they are supporting the employee as much as they can. Employers shouldn’t assume they know everything about transgender employees. Transgender employees should feel confident when discussing any problems they have with any changes that have been made, or any future changes to the business. They should also be allowed to express how they think things can be done better within the business, which would suit their needs. This will help the business’ approach with equality and diversity.
By creating an inclusive culture within the business, other employees will feel confident to open up about issues they may have with their sexuality, gender, religion or ethnicity, which they have never felt they could share before. Employees will feel more comfortable at the workplace if they don’t have to hide their secrets and their performance will likely increase.
If you need advice or have any questions on transgender in the workplace, please contact a member of the HPC team…
T: 0844 800 5932