Supporting Trans Staff in the Workplace Policy

Supporting Trans Staff in the Workplace Policy

Introduction

Rota is committed to leading and promoting Equality and Diversity, equal opportunities and supporting human rights in terms of the provision of staffing services to the hospitality industry.  This policy and guidance sets out Rota’s responsibilities as an employer of transgender people.

As gender reassignment is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 we must ensure that people are not discriminated against or disadvantaged by service delivery or prejudice of Rota’s employees, members or public.

We also recognise that being transgender is only one aspect of the individual’s identity and therefore it is not a case of “one size fits all”. Each person will have different needs and as such, a person-centred approach will be taken.

 Rota’s Approach

Rota recognises that transgender people are entitled to fair and equal access to employment. A person’s gender status will not exclude them from the high standards of employment expected from Rota. Rota recognises:

  • The broad spectrum of gender diversity within society and that traditional gender stereotypes are inadequate in reflecting the lives of employees and service users.
  • That people have the right to live with dignity and privacy in the gender with which they identify, and that there must be no exceptions to this when a transgender person is an employee or using services and facilities.

For a member of staff who is transgender, any changes to working conditions or access to facilities should have a negotiated approach between the staff member and their manager.

Scope of the Policy

The policy applies to all Rota employees and Members. Staff will be expected to comply with the Policy at all times and positively challenge colleagues and users of services who act in a manner that breaches the legal aspects of Rota’s responsibilities.

Policy Review

This is Rota’s first Transgender Employee Policy and will be subject to review within 3 years of implementation to ensure it fulfils its operational use as a tool for practice and as a source of guidance for the organisation.

Aims of the Transgender Policy

This policy applies to all staff and members of the public detailing how a transgender person should be treated in a dignified, non-discriminatory way.

Its aims are to support the organisation in its delivery of inclusive services and ensure that it does not breach the Equality Act 2010.  Under this legislation it states that a transgender person no longer has to be under medical supervision or have a gender recognition certificate to prove that they have the protected characteristic of gender reassignment. For example, a trans person who simply starts using different pronouns (she, he, and they) is protected by the Equality Act regardless of whether or not they wish to take any hormones or have any surgeries.

They must be treated in accordance with their self-declared gender identity.  Discrimination against a transgender person should be challenged, whether the discrimination stems from staff or Members.

Our priorities:

  • We are committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for transgender employees.
  • The fundamental directive of this Policy is that transgender people will be treated in their self-identified gender at all times.
  • The Policy will support legal compliance in Rota’s responsibilities as an employer of transgender people.

To support work in these areas, Rota will:

  • Ensure transgender employees can work in an environment without fear of prejudice, discrimination or harassment
  • Provide management and staff with guidance on the rights of transgender employees and the legal context for this
  • Support staff to contribute to culture change within this organisation.
  • Ensure that employees who intend to undergo, are undergoing, or have undergone gender reassignment are treated with fairness and support in their recruitment and development.

What does transgender mean?

Transgender is an umbrella term for people who, for whatever reason, feel their gender identity or gender expression differs from their sex assigned at birth.  While the organisation is committed to understanding the context of transgender issues within a staffing company context, for the purposes of this policy Rota understands the term transgender and its legal protections to include anyone selfidentifying as transgender and anyone proposing to undergo, undergoing or having undergone any part of a process for the purpose of gender reassignment.

A small number of people may not identify with a binary (male/female) concept of gender and instead identify as having an androgynous non-binary gender or as having no gender. Some of them may experience their gender identity as fluid and changeable. Where this is the case, discussions relating to provision of services must take place with this broader understanding of gender and gender identity.  The terms transgender person, trans man, trans women etc are usually the preferred terms for this community; ‘transgender’ is how people will be referred to in this policy.

Rota – Our responsibilities as an employer

Rota supports and respects diversity in all aspects of its functions, including those relating to our responsibilities as an employer. The organisation views discrimination against employees as unacceptable in any form.  National evidence has shown that a disproportionate number of transgender people are unemployed or employed in low paid work. Much of this relates to perceived or real discrimination in the workplace and Rota will work to promote the organisation as a credible employer of choice for transgender people.

Respecting the gender identity of transgender employees

Rota will ensure that transgender staff are treated as being of the gender in which they are living irrespective of whether they have undergone any hormonal or surgical treatment or have a Gender Recognition Certificate.  It is unacceptable for colleagues and managers to refuse to recognise, for any period of time, a member of staff as belonging to the gender in which they are currently living. Discrimination from staff or members will not be tolerated. In the case of staff being discriminatory, the manager should use the relevant policies/procedures to deal with the situation.  We have a Duty under the Equality Act to foster good relations between individuals who have protected characteristics and those who do not.

Genuine Occupational Qualification (GOQ)

The Equality Act 2010 provides limited exemptions for GOQ positions to restrict access to members of a particular gender. These exemptions can only be applied in order to achieve a legitimate operational need. All efforts should be made to enable transgender employees to work in positions, including those covered by General Occupational Qualifications, consistent with the gender in which they are living.  Where a person has a gender recognition certificate they must be regarded as being that gender for the purposes of GOQ positions. As the gender history of an employee is a matter of strictest confidentiality, this information should never be shared with service users.  Where an employee undergoing gender reassignment currently works in a GOQ position restricted to their original gender, every effort will be taken to work collaboratively with them to either adapt the duties of the post to enable them to continue working in it or to redeploy them to a suitable alternative post.

Harassment

Rota adopts an all-encompassing anti-harassment stance to protect our employees. This means harassment will not be accepted be it perpetrated by staff, visitors or service users.

A 2000 report looking at workplace harassment issues for transgender people found that more than a quarter of transgender employees faced harassment and discrimination (verbal and physical) on a regular basis. These actions would be in breach of Rota workplace policies and in some circumstances may constitute criminal behaviour under Hate Incident legislation.

Rota considers harassment and bullying to be pernicious in the extreme and will act swiftly to deal with all cases as part of our commitment to providing an inclusive workplace.

A Shared Vision

Rota trust that our transgender staff feel fully supported in relation to all aspects of their gender identity and gender expression and will continue to develop better ways of working to ensure transgender people feel happy, safe and secure in all their dealings with us and come to recognise Rota as a leader in best practice across our systems.

 Gender Reassignment – Points for consideration  

Managing Staff going through Transition

The successful support and management of an employee’s gender reassignment depends crucially on taking account of the individual’s views on how to proceed.  Gender reassignment is a personal process (rather than a medical process), which involves a person expressing their gender in any way that differs from the physical sex they were assigned at birth.

This personal process may include undergoing medical procedures or may include choosing to dress in a different way as part of the personal process of change.  It is best practice to assume any transgender person has a gender recognition certificate and to treat them accordingly.  It should be noted that the first contact may be just to “sound out options”. Some transgender people may take several months or years to gradually explore the possibility of gender reassignment. Some may only change their outward gender presentation after a period of varying gender expression.

When a member of staff considers embarking on gender reassignment, the initial point of contact may vary according to the nature of the workplace and preference of the individual, but could be; an immediate line manager, a senior manager, all must maintain confidentiality except as agreed otherwise by the individual. It is vital to assure that the Co-founders and Executive Team will be supportive and that it does not tolerate discrimination against or harassment of transgender employees.

Role of the Managers

Every manager employed by Rota is responsible for promoting equal opportunities in practice and, where applicable, for preventing patient and staff discrimination.  Line managers are responsible for;

  • Challenging staff who discriminate and ensuring that the relevant procedures are followed i.e. Dignity and Respect at Work, , Managing Employee Conduct Policy etc
  • Supporting their staff to challenge discrimination from the public
  • Agreeing a plan with a staff member who is proposing to transition to ensure that they are supported throughout the process.
  • Ensuring that a transgender person is addressed and treated as the gender they identify with.

Initially, managers (and any other members of staff acting as a point of contact) should ensure they are familiar with this policy and any other appropriate in order to support the individual fully.

Through discussion with the employee, a Rota main point of contact will be agreed. A meeting will be arranged with the nominated person to have a more detailed discussion and to support the process for handling the transition.  Where appropriate the individual concerned should be provided with an agreed member of the Executive team / Human Resources team to act as an advisor and to provide guidance and advice to the member of staff and their manager. They may also wish to bring a friend or support with them to the first meeting.

First Meeting

Depending on the circumstances the employee may be anxious at the first meeting so it is important to spend time building trust and rapport.  If an employee is undergoing gender reassignment, it is good practice for the manager to consult with them sensitively about their needs in the workplace and whether there are any reasonable and practical steps that can be taken to help the employee as they undergo their gender reassignment process.

Developing a joint plan for managing transition at work

The action plan could include:

  • The anticipated point or phase of change of name, personal details and social gender.
  • Discussing who will be told and when
  • Date of starting to work in new gender.
  • A procedure for adhering to any change in dress code/uniform.
  • Agreeing the point at which an individual will commence using single sex facilities such as toilets, changing rooms and showers in their new gender.
  • Transition whilst in employment/post – discussion with the employee should inform any actions of when and how colleagues should be informed – the employee should decide who performs the task – and whether any training in gender identity issues is needed. The staff member may prefer the manager to do this or identify they will do this themselves.
  • Whether a transgender employee is adequately covered by existing Policy on issues such as confidentiality, harassment and insurance and if not, how these will be amended.
  • Discuss any employee concerns about whether they wish to stay in their current position or if they wish to be redeployed – this will be the choice of the individual. It is inappropriate to redeploy someone who wishes to transition just because you think it is in his or her best interests.
  • Time off required for medical treatment (if known), this may vary considerably in accordance with the needs of individuals concerned.
  • Discuss and prepare an agreed statement which could be used in the event of any adverse media enquiries. After a person has successfully transitioned into their new gender role, it would not be appropriate to keep these records within the personal file.

Any information relating to an individual’s gender reassignment should be destroyed unless there is an essential reason for keeping it. If such reasons can be evidenced, the documents should be secured to restrict access to authorised personnel and must not be passed to any third party without the specific consent of the member of staff.

Change in Social Gender

At some point the employee will likely wish to present themselves at work in their new gender. When the employee indicates that they are ready to begin working in their new gender, the plans agreed to under the previous section should be implemented.  It is important to allow the employee to be in control of the timetable for this and to be flexible in the case that the employee decides that the experience is too difficult, and wishes to delay any part of it.

If appropriate records and documents have not been updated to reflect the employee’s new name and title (if applicable) by this time, they must be updated at this time.

Informing and Supporting Colleagues

It is good practice for employers to take responsibility for informing whoever needs to know, unless the individual going through the process would prefer to do this.  With regard to the change of name, all staff must refer to the transgender person by their preferred name and use pronouns appropriate to their acquired gender.

Colleagues should be given general information or awareness training about transgender issues and specific information to help people to understand the needs of the person transitioning. Any additional issues or areas of concern or requiring further clarity can be discussed with the Equality Lead or identified point of contact.  Each team is different and support either as a team or on a 1:1 basis should be met on a need led basis.

It is never appropriate to inform colleagues, clients and the public that an employee has in the past undergone gender reassignment. This is a private matter since gender reassignment will have no bearing on that person’s ability to do their job.

Such disclosure may result in a criminal offence if the person concerned has a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) and it is done without the explicit consent of the individual concerned. It is good practice to assume that all those who have transitioned to their acquired gender have a GRC.

 

Staff in Public Facing Roles

A member of staff’s gender transition may be unavoidably visible to the public especially in the early stages of gender transition. Although many people cease being visibly different as transition progresses, there are others for whom it will continue to be a reality.

There is no general need or obligation to inform colleagues, clients or the public that a person is undertaking gender reassignment. However, such information may be considered appropriate where the relationship with that individual was established prior to their change of gender and is to continue.  This however should only be completed with permission from the member of staff who is transitioning. Each situation is different and the ways in which informing people should be delivered on needs led basis.  In such a case an explanation may be considered necessary; however the manager should discuss and agree with the transgender person if and how the information should be given.  In these circumstances, it is important that managers support the member of staff in a positive manner and listen to how they feel about things and how they feel they are coping. Managers should be willing to explore equitable solutions. Colleagues may also benefit from advice on how to contribute.  Some staff may elect to move to another role during transition, however, they cannot be required to do so. Similarly, the way someone looks and the negative reactions this might be expected to elicit from certain members of the public must not be a barrier to people undertaking a public facing role.

Time off for appointments

Any absence from work for medical requirements would need to be covered by a ‘Fit Note’. Any additional leave for specialist appointments would be classed the same as other hospital / GP appointments and in accordance with organisational procedures.

Single Sex Facilities

Rota supports the use of single sex facilities for transgender people in accordance with the gender in which they are living.  Where sex specific facilities do not afford reasonable levels of privacy for male and female staff (shared changing areas etc.) reasonable measures will be taken to upgrade facilities to meet this need. This is not a consideration to ‘protect’ transgender or non-transgender staff, but rather to ensure that all members of staff, irrespective of their age, disability, gender, gender recognition, race/ethnicity, religion/belief or sexual orientation is accorded the right to privacy.

 Use of Changing/Shower Facilities and Toilets

The use of changing/showering facilities and toilets will be part of the discussion process with the member of staff undergoing gender reassignment, with a view to agreeing the point at which the use of facilities should change from one gender to the other. An appropriate stage for using the facilities of the new gender is likely to be the change of social gender.

Should there be any objections to this; the objections will be dealt with by a manager in a sensitive and understanding way while not denying the transgender person access to facilities appropriate to their lived gender. It is not good practice to allocate specific facilities for the individual undergoing gender reassignment.  In particular, trans people must not be asked, expected or required to use accessible facilities allocated for people with disabilities (unless they have a disability which requires this). Where a trans person freely prefers to use accessible gender neutral facilities, perhaps because they have a non-binary gender identity, then this should be permitted.

Where changing or shower facilities are open plan, then it is good practice to review this and at least make some provision (e.g. curtained spaces) where staff need not be in a state of undress in the presence of others.  If it is genuinely impossible to adapt such changing/shower facilities to accommodate this, then there is one very limited example of an instance where the law permits an employer to make separate arrangements.

Such special arrangements must be time limited unless the trans person has a non-binary gender identity and wishes to keep the separate arrangements in place indefinitely.  It would not be acceptable to expect an individual undergoing gender reassignment to use facilities designated for use by those of their birth gender.  Following gender reassignment, whether or not this has involved surgical procedures, the individual should be fully supported in using all facilities appropriate to his or her acquired gender.

The Executive team will ensure that any arrangements for toilet/shower/changing facilities are satisfactory to the transgender member of staff and their colleagues as appropriate. Any unsatisfactory practical arrangements must be reported to the designated Executive team / Human Resources team as soon as possible.

Dress Code

At the time of writing this Policy, Rota does not have a detailed dress code other than those instructions to relevant professional groups identified by their formal workplace uniforms. In all other circumstances it is enough to ask staff to wear attire that is appropriate for their duties and compliant with infection control guidance.  We would therefore fully support any transgender member of staff with regard to the clothing they feel best represents their gender identity.

Personal Data & Information Retention

Employees at all levels who could learn about an individual’s gender reassignment history in the course of their work need to be very clear about the handling of this information. This could apply to:

  • The information that can be entered into Workforce files where other staff might have access.
  • Discussion about an applicant’s job interview.
  • Information that can be passed from one medical professional to another in the course of referral or when discussing a case.
  • Information stored in medical records where others could access that data.

Any such information must be treated with the utmost confidentiality and included only as “sensitive data” (Data Protection Act & GDPR) in any records which must not be available to or accessible by anyone not specifically authorised or agreed with the specific employee to have access.

Proof of right to work in UK

A passport, national identity card or Home Office issued residence document are the relevant primary identification documents that the Executive team / Human Resources team should request in order to prove a person has the right to work in the UK. A birth certificate should only be requested if none of those documents are available. It is possible for a trans person who is a UK national to obtain a UK passport with their new gender identity at the start of their gender reassignment.  If a trans person does not have a UK passport in their new gender identity then their original name and gender may be present on a document shown. In such cases the Human Resources Representative should explain that retaining a copy of the document on the employee’s record is a legal requirement imposed by the UK Government. They should also explain that if the employee later gains a new document then Human Resources can replace the document kept on file. Confidentiality must be maintained.

Record Keeping

All records should be updated to reflect the new name, title and gender simply on receipt of a written request from the trans person. No formal evidence is required in support of the written request, although many trans people may choose to provide a statutory declaration or deed poll confirming their change of name.

Records must be updated regardless of whether or not the trans person has any medical treatment or gender recognition certificate.  After two years living in their acquired gender with all their records updated (except their birth certificate), transgender people have the option of applying to the Gender Recognition Panel for a gender recognition certificate which updates the gender on the person’s UK birth certificate and provides enhanced gender history privacy protections.

A transgender member of staff is under no obligation to provide a gender recognition certificate to their employer; nor, should anyone be asked if they hold one under any circumstances.  The Executive team / Human Resources team representative should advise on where records are maintained that need to be changed. The Executive team / Human Resources team representative should ensure that all documents, public references (such as telephone directories, web biographies etc) and employment details display only their new name, title and gender.

Wherever possible, all records that disclose previous gender history should be withdrawn and destroyed as soon as the person makes a written request for their name and gender to be updated on their employment records. Any copies needing to be kept for legal reasons (for example, proof of right to work in the UK) in the person’s Central HR file have to be treated as sensitive data under the Data Protection Act and not disclosed to anyone not specifically authorised to see them.

When documents have been seen and copies taken at the point of starting employment (such as birth certificate) then every effort will be made to replace those with equivalent documents in the new name and gender. The Data Protection Act / GDPR limits the purposes for which information may be kept. When the information is no longer useful, it must be destroyed. In some instances, it is necessary to retain records relating to an individual’s identity at birth, for example, for pension or insurance purposes prior to obtaining gender recognition. However, once a person has obtained a gender recognition certificate, these must be replaced with new details.

Access to records showing the change of name and any other details associated with the individuals transgender status (such as records of absence for medical treatment) must be restricted to staff who need the information to do their work.  Breaches of confidentiality about a person’s gender history and transgender status must be treated in the same serious manner as disclosure of sensitive personal information (for example, medical details) of any other member of staff. In addition to being data protection violations, breaches of confidentiality can be gender reassignment discrimination or harassment under the Equality Act 2010.

Transgender staff may choose voluntarily to disclose information at a secondary level, e.g. answering a staff survey or asking for support from a line manager. Again, strict confidentiality must be observed as further disclosure must not be made without the express written permission of the individual. This means that such questionnaires must be assessed for impact beforehand to determine how such circumstances are going to be handled in confidence.  It is not an offence to disclose protected information if the person cannot be identified or if they give their consent. Such consent however must not be forced, and should be written confirmation of consent from the individual concerned.

Work Permits

Staff who are working on a work permit or student visa are asked to comply with any work permit/visa regulations, which may relate specifically to name change or gender reassignment in order that the work permit/visa continues to be valid.

National Insurance

Staff who change their name will need to inform the local Department of Work and Pensions.  People will be referred to in their new gender pronouns by HM Revenue and Customs, but any gender-specific calculations relating to their pension, national insurance contributions or benefits will be based upon their original birth gender unless and until they receive a gender recognition certificate.

Recruitment and Selection

Recruitment

It is intended that there be no barriers to a person who identifies as transgender from applying for employment within Rota.

All those involved in the recruitment and selection process should be made aware of their responsibilities to select fairly and without prejudice.

Confidentiality within the recruitment and selection process

Applicants do not have to disclose their transgender status during the recruitment and selection process including at interview, or as any condition of employment.  If applicants choose to disclose their status this must not be used as a reason for not offering the person employment with the organisation and also non-disclosure or subsequent disclosure are not grounds for dismissal.

Dissemination and Implementation of Policy

The Executive team / Human Resources team representative, who is executive lead for equality, are responsible for the implementation of this policy;

  • To be submitted to Area Partnership Forum and Staff Governance Committee for approval.
  • Following approval, the policy plus the Equality Impact Assessment will be added to the Rota document library accessible through the Intranet site.
  • A clear communication will be sent to all managers and staff publicising its existence.
  • Training will be provided with the launch of the policy and reference to the policy will be made within the Equality and Diversity session within corporate induction.
  • Transgender e-learning package will be available for all staff within Learn Pro system and Transgender Policy will be identified within same.

Managers

Every manager employed by Rota is responsible for promoting equal opportunities in practice and, where applicable, for preventing patient and staff discrimination.  Line managers are responsible for;

  • Ensuring that all staff are aware of this policy and attend any relevant training.
  • Challenging staff who discriminate and ensuring that the relevant procedures are followed i.e. Dignity and Respect at Work, etc.
  • Supporting their staff to challenge discrimination from members or the public.
  • Agreeing a plan with a staff member who is proposing to transition to ensure that they are supported throughout the process.
  • Ensuring that a trans person is addressed and treated as the gender they identify with.

Role of the Equality Lead

They are responsible for;

  • Overseeing the development and monitoring of the Transgender Policy
  • Consulting with members of the transgender community when appropriate
  • Reporting and responding to any issues of discrimination or noncompliance of the Supporting Trans in the Workplace Policy.

Role of Individual Staff

All employees have a personal responsibility to support the equal and fair treatment of colleagues to ensure people are treated consistently in a non-discriminatory manner.  All staff members are responsible for;

  • complying with the Transgender Policy
  • challenging/reporting discriminatory practice or language

Updating and Review

The policy will be fully reviewed in three years then subsequently every three years or earlier if indicated from the result of monitoring and review, legislative changes, a national policy instruction or Rota decision.

The supporting trans staff in the workplace policy is fully supported by Executive Management at Rota.