Dealing with gender diversity in the workplace

Trans is an umbrella term for somebody who experiences gender incongruence, gender diversity or gender dysphoria, meaning they do not align to the sex they were assigned at birth. This includes someone who:

  • intends to undergo, are undergoing or have undergone gender reassignment
  • identifies that their gender is not the one assigned at birth. This is both someone who is planning, or has had medical interventions, as well as someone who does not plan or has not had medical interventions
  • is non-binary, meaning they do not solely consider themselves to be male or female. They may or may not have had medical interventions to align their body with their non-binary gender identity.

These are not mutually exclusive alternatives.

It is a personal choice as to whether an employee informs their employer of their intention to transition. Managers may be embarrassed or unsure how to manage an employee who is transitioning because gender reassignment is not common.  The key is to keep communications open and regular; to listen and provide ongoing support; to allow the employee to take the lead as much as possible; to treat the employee with dignity and respect, and to take any necessary steps to ensure that colleagues and business contacts do likewise.

If an employee does disclose that they are transitioning, it is vital to ensure that the support is provided at work and the first step is to discuss with the employee, any support measures that may be needed.

Working with the individual to create a ‘Transition plan’ ensures that the plan will work for both parties. It is important to understand the dates and timescales of each stage of the transition process which can cover a period of more than two years whilst the employee starts to live in the acquired gender. Medical treatment may also extend over many months.

The plan might cover:

  • Identifying a single point of contact who will act as support for the employee.
  • Confirming any new name, title, and pronoun that the employee would like to use moving forward and the date it will become effective from.
  • Whether any external third-party needs notifying, such as HMRC, pensions
  • An expected timeline of the transition process including a date from which the employee will take up their new identity (if known)
  • Facilities, such as bathrooms, associated with their new identity.

Keep the situation under review and change your plan as and when necessary. It is also vital event to encourage a culture of zero tolerance for bullying, harassment or banter which is unacceptable and offensive.

If you feel that you would like support to create an inclusive workplace culture, contact us at enquiries@121hrsolutions.co.uk and we can discuss.

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