Creating a Workplace Policy Supportive of Transition

Freedom of Gender Expression

What should we put in our workplace policy to be supportive of transgender workers?

Many employers are writing policies to cover the different aspects of a transgender worker who transitions on the job. Having a policy helps assure consistent workers that it is safe to come to you to discuss their need to transition. Supportive policies also help employers improve their rating on the HRC Corporate Equality Index.

A supportive transition policy goes beyond adding the words "gender identity or expression" to your EO nondiscrimination policy. It is important to address issues like communication to coworkers, change of records to reflect the new name and gender, dress codes, and even use of the restroom.

Transgender at Work recommends that employers write a detailed policy document suiting their own workplace environment. Appropriate issues should each be addressed, stating the company policy but allowing sufficient flexibility to meet the specific needs of the situation. Rather than a one size fits all approach, TAW offers resources to inform each employer of the issues and most successful solutions. The policy can then be written to fit your own style.

Workplace Policy Resources

Some excellent publications have been written that go into detail about the issues. Some of the best are listed below.

The Human Rights Campaign has written an excellent document titled "Transgender Issues in the Workplace: A Tool for Managers". The reader is cautioned, however, that The information about cost of Transgender Health Benefits attributed to TAW is out of date and should be disregarded. See instead the TAW information on this site.

In the United Kingdom, a law was pssed in 2005 permitting transgender individuals to change their documentation when living in a new gender. The "Women and Equality Unit" has written a thorough and well-researched guide titled "Gender Reassignment - A Guide for Employers". While written for the UK, much of the advice in this document applies to employers in any country.

Do you still need more information? Transgender at Work has created a FAQ addressing 20 of the most often-asked questions policy writers encounter. Use it as a checklist to make sure you've covered everything you feel you need to include in your policy.
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