From Policy to Practice – Implementing Trans-Inclusive Policies in Your Organization

From Policy to Practice - Implementing Trans-Inclusive Policies in Your Organization


Transgender people face numerous challenges daily, with workplace discrimination being one of the most common issues. In fact, as much as a third of transgender employees report feeling excluded by their employers and colleagues.

For employers, a lack of trans-inclusive policies can lead to lower employee satisfaction, higher turnover, and even legal action.

In the 21st century, an inclusive workplace shouldn’t be an exception – it should be the standard. In today’s article, we’ll take a look at some practical steps for employers who want to implement trans-inclusive policies and create a culture of wellness in their organizations.

Thinking about gender in the workplace

Thinking about gender in the workplace

According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, almost 80% of transgender workers had to take active steps to avoid being mistreated at work, including having to hide the fact that they were transgender or delaying their transition.

In a lot of cases, discrimination at work leads transgender people into developing a negative self-image and putting their mental health at risk.

The effects of neglecting transgender rights in the workplace are not exclusive to employees alone. It’s reported that over $60 billion is lost by companies in the US each year due to employee turnover caused by discrimination, with many of those employees being transgender.

Transgender workers who feel they are treated unfairly and/or are discriminated against in the workplace can seek the help of an employment solicitor to help take legal action against their current or former employers.

Legislation supporting trans rights in the workplace in the UK

Legislation supporting trans rights in the workplace in the UK

There are two major legal documents that support transgender rights in the United Kingdom:

  • The Equality Act 2010
  • The Gender Recognition Act of 2004

The Equality Act 2010 protects every individual located in the United Kingdom from discrimination and unequal treatment against one of nine protected characteristics, one of them being gender reassignment.

No medical proof or otherwise is required for a person to qualify for protection under the Equality Act 2010.

The Gender Recognition Act of 2004 allows transgender people to legally change their gender from the one assigned to them at birth. Those interested need to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) after applying and being interviewed by the Gender Recognition Panel.

The GRC entitles the applicant to use their current gender for all purposes, in the workplace or otherwise.

However, even if a transgender person doesn’t own a Gender Recognition Certificate, they are still legally allowed to use their chosen name, gender, and pronouns in the workplace.

10 Tips for employers for creating a trans-inclusive workplace

10 Tips for employers for creating a trans-inclusive workplace

To avoid legal action and losses, employers should aim to create a trans-inclusive workplace by actively implementing policies that support transgender people. Let’s take a look at 10 tips for employers that will facilitate creating a transgender-friendly office environment:

  • Don’t be afraid to speak up about your commitment to creating a transgender-inclusive workplace. Let your employees know that you support them and see them as just as valuable as all your employees. Take advantage of your internal communication channels to share your support.
  • Make sure you and your employees are familiar with the legal documentation regarding transgender rights, including the Equality Act of 2010, the Gender Recognition Act of 2004, as well as the Public Sector Equality Duty
  • Implement policies that counteract bullying and harassment at work, including a clear description of what qualifies as inappropriate behavior and an efficient system for reporting incidents. A similar policy for employees that are transitioning should be implemented that includes guidelines for managers and HR.
  • Pay attention to data protection – it is an offense to disclose information about an employee being transgender without their permission.
  • Regular training should be provided for all employees to ensure they understand the importance of creating an inclusive workplace and know how to implement company policies, including appropriate use of pronouns and avoiding discriminatory behavior.
  • Consider using gender-neutral language in your internal communication materials, including job descriptions and employee handbooks.
  • Provide access to gender-neutral facilities, including bathrooms and changing rooms, to make sure that all employees feel safe and comfortable, with their privacy intact.
  • Implement an open-door policy aimed to create a safe space for transgender employees to discuss concerns and seek support.
  • Ensure that absences due to medical procedures relating to gender reassignment are treated equally to the time taken off for illness.
  • Establish processes for employees to easily change their name and gender in HR records and other company documentation.
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