Why you need a transgender policy

by Human Capital20 Aug 2014
Although gender reassignment surgery is on the rise, 90% of transgender employees faced some degree of harassment, bias, or discrimination while at work in 2012.

Worse still, 47% experienced a professional setback such as termination or denial of a promotion because of their gender identity status. And plenty of avenues of legal recourse are available to aggrieved transgender employees.
For this reason, it is of the utmost importance that HR leaders ensure that their workplace is safe, accommodating and legally compliant in its treatment of transgender employees.
Essential considerations include:
  • Crafting anti-harassment policies that ban other employees from asking a trans worker intrusive or personal questions, as well as establishing steps that trans employees can take to file claims in response to discriminatory language or treatment.
  • Conducting training to increase awareness of gender identity issues and reiterate that transitioning is a common practice that occurs worldwide. EAP providers can recommend experts to hold seminars for employees and managers.
  • Making dress codes gender neutral and removing any language that relies on traditional sexual stereotypes. For occupations that require male and female uniforms, employees should be able to choose which one aligns most closely with their gender identity.
  • Confidentially and respectfully asking employees about their name and pronoun preferences, and creating a communication plan to convey that information to other employees in a dignified manner. If the employee decides to use different restroom or changing room facilities, this change should be incorporated into that dialogue as well.
  • Adjusting employer records to reflect the employee’s new name and gender. The organisation should also be willing to adjust e-mail addresses, business cards, security badges, and other identity to reflect the transition.
Finally, employers should stay informed of the evolving laws and policies governing transgender rights in the workplace. Organisations that make this awareness a priority have a significantly lower risk of multi-million-dollar lawsuits and penalties, and remain in control of their reputation and public image.
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