Gender Reassignment Discrimination
We have noticed an increase in enquiries from employees who have been subjected to Gender Reassignment Discrimination. We will always advise any person who is subjected to discriminatory behaviour by their employer to take independent legal advice. Of course, we would hope they would contact us at Lincs Law Employment Solicitors. However, if you are considering raising your own complaint or representing yourself at the Employment Tribunal, we set out below some general guidance.
Who is protected from Gender Reassignment Discrimination?
In the employment sphere, employees, workers, job applicants, Trainees, Company Directors etc., are protected from Gender Reassignment Discrimination or harassment by their employer. All aspects of the relationship are covered. For example, an applicant who is discriminated against in the recruitment process would be able to bring a claim against their prospective employer, even if they had never worked a day for that business.
The Equality Act 2010 identifies gender reassignment as a protected characteristic. For the purposes of the Act, gender reassignment would include all transsexual people, i.e. when your gender identity is different from the gender assigned to you when you were born.
Protection from Gender Reassignment Discrimination is not limited to those who have undergone any specific treatment or surgery to change from their preferred gender. It is acknowledged that changing physiological and other gender attributes is a personal process, as opposed to a medical process.
To receive the protection afforded by The Equality Act 2010, you can be at any stage in the transition process. This would be from proposing to reassign your gender all the way through to having completed a process. The Equality Act will protect you from Gender Reassignment Discrimination if you suffer because: –
- Of your gender reassignment as a Transsexual.
- That others think you are a Transsexual; or
- You are connected to a Transsexual person (or someone thought to be a Transsexual person).
How do you know if you have suffered Gender Reassignment Discrimination?
The Equality Act 2010 sets out various ways in which an employer’s treatment of a person because of their gender reassignment (or perceptions about their gender reassignment) is unlawful. Briefly, it is likely you have suffered Gender Reassignment Discrimination or harassment if any of the following have occurred: –
This is where you have been treated less favourably because of your gender reassignment than someone in a similar position who had not undergone gender reassignment would have been reated.
This is where the employer has a policy, procedure or similar, which appears to apply to everyone but has a detrimental impact upon people who are Transsexual.
This is where a person suffers unwanted conduct which causes a distressing, humiliating or offensive environment for them. For example, jokes and derogatory comments by colleagues relating to Transsexual persons.
This is where an employee raises a complaint themselves or supports another doing so and suffers a “detriment” as a consequence. A detriment could be a reduction in hours, a refusal to give a pay rise, a lost promotion opportunity, indeed anything which has a negative impact on that person’s work or employment.
If you believe you are suffering Gender Reassignment Discrimination or Harassment what action should you take?
The Employment Tribunal will expect you to raise your concerns with your employer. This will usually be done through your employer’s grievance procedure. Please see the information available on this website about how to raise a grievance at lincslaw.co.uk/blog/need-to-send-a-grievance-or-complaint-to-your-employer. Any evidence you can gather to assist in your grievance will be extremely helpful. If the matter can be resolved at that stage, then all to the good.
If your employer continues to discriminate against you because of your gender reassignment or the harassment has not been properly dealt with, you may have to consider submitting a claim to the Employment Tribunal. In order to do so, you will first need to begin a process called ACAS Early Conciliation. This is a compulsory procedure where an ACAS conciliator acts as a go between to try and resolve the dispute.
What are the Time Limits for Gender Reassignment Discrimination or Harassment Claims?
You will need to begin the ACAS Early Conciliation process within three months less one day from the last act or incident of discrimination or harassment. The time limit for submitting your Employment Tribunal claim will depend upon the dates of your ACAS Early Conciliation. However, it is important that you begin the ACAS Early Conciliation process within the three-month deadline as to fail to do so may render your claim out of time.
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors can help you
If you believe you are suffering Gender Reassignment Discrimination or harassment at work, please ring for a free, no obligation telephone consultation on 01522 440512 or use the contact information on this website.