The transgender employee
Steps you should take to avoid discrimination
As an employer you should always take steps to avoid discrimination. It is not good for the employee, it is not good for the atmosphere in the workplace and it is not good for you.
It is against the law to discriminate on grounds of gender,sexual orientation or the other grounds listed in the Employment Equality Acts 1998 - 2004. For more on discrimination and equality see here
This article examines what an employer should do to integrate a transgender employee in the workplace.
What legislation protects the transgender employee?
The transgender worker is covered under the Gender Recognition Act 2015 and also under the Equality Acts 1998 - 2015.
Where do I start ?
To quote Mary Poppins " You should start at the very beginning (a very good place to start ) "
This involves examining your recruitment process. Are the advertisements, application forms, letters, job descriptions, interview notes and all related procedures gender neutral? If not, then it's time to change them, before you find yourself in court. If you simply do not have the time, we can help. Just contact us and we will take it from there.
Examine your work policies and procedures. These can be very useful in helping all employees and management deal with the change in a positive way. The dignity at work policy, together with the anti harassment and anti bullying policies can be very helpful. For more on bullying in the workplace see here
Working with a transgender employee
When an employee wishes to transition it is important to have procedures in place to facilitate this as far as possible. Be prepared and you will avoid making mistakes which could impact on your business and employees.
Here is a basic outline of the main steps:
- The employee advises the manager that they want to transition
- The employee and manager agree on how to communicate this. It is best to have a written note of what has been agreed.
- Decide on how to manage the employee's absence.
- Agree a date on which the employee will transition at work. Consider things like work clothes which reflect the empl;oyees chosen gender, change of name.
- If the employee interacts with customers, consider how to communicate the change. You cannot prevent the employee from continuing to interact with the customer on the grounds that the have completed the transition.
- Take all steps necessary so that everything is in place for the transition day. Personell records, email address name badge etc.
- Facilities. You must ensure that the employee can use the facilities suited to their expressed gender, where male and female facilities are provided. Be aware of the potential for harassment in relation to using the facilities.
- Keep track of progress. Have regular review meetings with the transgender employee to ensure that everything is working smoothly.
- Manage the change. Take advantage of every opportunity to educate the other workers and help them to deal with it in a positive way.
- Social events. Take into account the needs of all participants when arranging social events.
Where can I get more information and help with employing a transgender worker in Ireland ?
Please contact us with your query and we would be glad to help. We have over thirty years experience of employment law in Ireland. Just use the contact us button and we will contact you at a time that suits.
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