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How do I support a transgender individual in the workplace?

View profile for Sally Morris
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According to new research commissioned by Acas, prejudice can be a daily experience for trans people but poor awareness from employers about the challenges they face can leave them isolated at work. The study shows that employers are not up to speed with the law on gender reassignment discrimination, which protects some trans employees from unfair treatment at work.

As a result, trans people are often left to inform their managers about the details of the Equalities Act 2010. Trans people not covered by the Act are even more at risk of being treated unfairly because employers have even less understanding of their experiences.

Although trans people are better supported in UK workplaces now compared to 20 years ago, it is widely acknowledged that there is a long way to go to create a positive environment for those who identify as the transgender in LGBT.

Nine out of ten trans people have suffered from depression so employers should ensure that managers are properly trained to support them. Acas has published new guidance in the last few weeks to help employers, small businesses and managers understand the basics around equality law and ensure trans people are treated fairly at work.

The new guidance is welcomed and is an important first step to supporting trans employees. Workplace discrimination is unacceptable and trans people in particular can face challenges when transitioning at work if they do not have a supportive and informed employer. It is important to recognise that not all trans people are supported by current law, particularly non-binary people.

It is advisable that whenever a Company is faced with a situation involving a trans person that they should be treated fairly irrespective of whether their gender identity is protected by the Equality Act 2010. Employers should consider how to raise awareness of trans issues and provide managers with good quality diversity and inclusion training.

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