Here’s a question: Do you know how to support a transgender employee who is transitioning in the workplace?
When an employee is transitioning, the very first thing to do is sit down and have a chat! Let them know that they can absolutely bring a support person and then make time to chat and develop an action plan with them.
What steps, if any, they want to take in the workplace;
What this means for other staff;
When they want to be known by their new name (if they are changing it);
What their pronouns will be;
When they want to adopt a new workplace uniform matching their gender;
When they want to start using the restrooms that match their gender identity;
How they would like to inform other staff and what they would like them to be told; and
When and if they would like their details formally updated in the workplace (emails, payroll, employment agreements, etc.).
Use this information to create a plan with them, write down the dates you have discussed and put the plan into action. It's important that other employees are clearly communicated with about what is expected of them and kept informed as it can really help to avoid miscommunication, discrimination, and misunderstandings. Just make sure that your transitioning employee is comfortable with the information you share (such as their new name, pronouns, and any changes to the workplace).
Policies relating to trans employees are also important to communicate and don’t mean that there are any special treatments or privileges, they are just there to make sure all employees are treated fairly, with respect, and are not subject to discrimination.
When it comes to the use of bathroom facilities, it is important that trans employees are able to use those which match their gender identity. This is a good thing to pop in the action plan and all staff will need to be informed while stressing the fact that all employees, including transitioning employees, have the right privacy and safety when using these facilities.
If you have any questions about creating a safe and discrimination-free workplace or are having trouble with discrimination of any kind then let us know and we can advise you on your next steps!
For more information check out this great resource by following the link: Transgender People at Work.
Needing some employment support? Give our team of experts a call on 0800 HR LIVE for advice and support, or visit our website www.livewirehr.co.nz.