Transitioning at work – creating a policy
People are more productive when they can be open about themselves at work. Many transgender people make the decision not to disclose their trans status or trans history because of fear of discrimination, prejudice or not believing an organisation is adequately prepared for someone who intends to transition. An organisation that welcomes diversity, including trans and gender questioning staff makes sure that staff are recruited and retained. Diverse workplaces benefit everybody.
For the purposes of this policy, the term trans will be used throughout. Trans is an umbrella term to describe a range of people whose gender identities are not the same as the sex they were assigned at birth.
The workplace is a crucial environment for someone who intends to transition. Every school and college should have a policy in place to support employees who intend to transition. Making sure your organisation proactively has the support mechanisms in place will ensure both the employee and your organisation has a positive transition.
The following policy gives guidance on addressing the needs of trans employees. It clarifies how the policy should be implemented and how to protect the legal rights and safety of trans employees. This policy will only be useful and effective if staff know about it, understand it and, when necessary, use it.
The needs of each trans employee must be addressed individually and no two transitions will be the same.
Transitioning describes the steps a trans person may take to live in the gender they identify with. Every person’s transition is unique and will involve different things. There is a lot of focus on medical transitions, but not all trans people want or can access hormone therapy and surgeries.
Transition may involve purely social aspects such as telling friends, family and colleagues, dressing differently, and changing names, pronouns and/or official documents. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to transition. A person’s transition is private, so it is inappropriate to ask questions about trans people’s bodies.
Policy statement for your workplace
This organisation is committed to the inclusion of trans employees by creating a safe environment where trans employees are supported, treated with dignity and respect and can express their gender identity freely.
This organisation recognises the benefits and experiences that trans employees can bring to the workforce and will ensure that any employee intending to transition will be supported, valued and treated with dignity and respect. We understand that every person’s transition is unique.
This policy has been agreed following consultation with recognised trade unions and will be reviewed every 2 years’ subject to further consultation.
This policy is relevant to all members of staff who intend to transition. All employees and governors and academy trustees have a responsibility to comply with this policy.
All employees should report any bullying or harassment that they witness, whether by colleagues, or other third parties, to their line manager immediately.
Trans employees are protected by two key pieces of legislation:
Equality Act 2010: Outlaws discrimination related to the protected characteristic of Gender Reassignment.
If an employee identifies that they have gender dysphoria and the condition has a substantial and long-term adverse impact on their ability to carry out day-to-day activities, they may also be protected under the provisions in the Equality Act 2010 relating to the protected characteristic of disability
Gender Recognition Act 2004: Allows trans people to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate and have the correct gender marker on their birth certificate
In addition to these two pieces of legislation, the Human Rights Act 1998 and the General Data Protection Regulation (Data Protection Act 1998) are also relevant to trans employees.
Transition care plan
There is no requirement for an employee to tell their employer or colleagues about their intention to transition, or for the employer or colleagues to ask questions about a person’s trans status or history. It is unlawful to disclose an employee’s trans history or status without their explicit consent.
Any employee who decides to disclose their intention to transition should, having discussed their plan with their union support network inform their line manager or HR colleague and agree a main point of contact that will help manage the transition from the organisations perspective.
A transition care plan (TCP) will be put in place so both parties can confirm the detail and timing of key dates and actions before, during and after the employee’s transition. This process will be led by the employee and no action will be taken without their explicit prior consent. The TCP is a commitment from this organisation to support the employee at all stages of their transition, act in their best interests and in accordance with their wishes.
The TCP is a completely confidential document and access is restricted to named persons approved by the employee and with their permission.
The TCP will be reviewed at each significant stage of the employee’s transition or more frequently if necessary. All actions will be taken in consultation with the employee transitioning.