Transgender staff

4 December, 2015
by: Cripps Pemberton Greenish

The Government has recently published a new guide specifically for employers on recruiting and retaining transgender staff.

Gender reassignment is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 which means that transgender staff are protected from discrimination. In 2011, the Government published its Transgender Action Plan. This document included results of a Government employment survey which found that nearly half of the transgender staff who responded experience discrimination or harassment in their workplaces and 88% of respondents said that the biggest challenge they faced in employment was ignorance of transgender issues. Some employers may not be effectively supporting their staff because they lack the knowledge, awareness and confidence to deal with transgender issues. The guide contains practical advice on the law and the Government hopes that it will assist employers in confidently dealing with the particular issues that affect transgender people. The new guide says that recruiting and retaining transgender employees does not need to be complex – employers only need to exercise good business practices.

The guide provides practical advice on ensuring that employers do not present barriers to transgender people during the recruitment process. Steps that employers can take to prevent these barriers include:

  • letting people identify their gender as they choose on application forms by providing an “other” option under the title section;
  • ensuring HR teams and employees have the correct training; and
  • HR teams and employees attending regular training on best practice, equality and recruitment policies.

The guide deals with the fact that employers need to retain staff and see a return on their investment in personnel. The guide looks at organisational strategies for effective retention of staff. It provides advice on agreeing with employees the steps that need to be taken before, during and after their transition. The guide also contains a suggested action plan template for employers to use to set out the agreed steps. This plan can be seen here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/480362/The_recruitment_and_retention_of_transgender_staff-_guidance_for_employers.pdf