Discrimination against gender variant people in the workplace

Report on Workplace Discrimination in the United Kingdom

Dr. Stephen Whittle

The report describes how, during the period 1996-99, the legal responsibility of employers to protect transsexual employees against sex discrimination in the workplace was clearly established by several test cases and new government regulations.

Based on a survey conducted in late 2000, the report states that the great majority of respondents did not feel that, aside from any difficulties created for them by other people at work, their transition had, at the time or currently, made them less able to do their jobs. Yet, the report shows that many transsexual employees were still subjected to:

  • verbal abuse and even physical violence perpetrated by other employees, as well as by customers, clients or suppliers
  • discrimination in recruitment, promotion, remuneration, benefits and other factors

Many of the transsexual employees who had recently commenced transition had been forced to leave their jobs either by their employers or because of the resultant conditions at work.

Read More: Employment Discrimination and Trans People

Workplace Harassment of Gender Variant People in the United States

Stephenne Rhodes

Penny, a trans woman, works for a subsidiary of a very well known international environmental services company that portrays itself as an equal opportunity employer and according to the corporate webpage “above all supportive ” of its employees. Penny was a well regarded member of the company’s workforce, until she announced her intention to transition to the her preferred gender. Since then she has experienced nothing but outright hostility from management and coworkers.

When she returned to work after surgery, with her legal change of name the Human Resources Department were extremely antagonistic and went so far as to suggest that her dressing in gender appropriate clothing was against corporate rules. In a subsequent medical examination the company doctor insisted upon inspecting her genitals, a blatant invasion of privacy and quite irrelevant to her ability to carry out her duties.

Since her transition Penny believes her supervisors have delighted in allocating her dirty and unpleasant work well beneath her proven and acknowledged skills. Both her supervisors and coworkers still insist upon addressing her by a male name and using masculine pronouns when referring to her, despite having been informed how very hurtful she finds this is and her provision of proof of her legal status. Not one person in the whole plant has offered her any commiseration or offered support—she is quite alone and feels very vulnerable.

Document: Workplace Harassment of Gender Variant People (PDF, 104KB)


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