A retail assistant was dismissed from her job at the large high street chain after being harassed for being transgender.
The retail assistant informed Primark that they were transgender and their birth name when they applied for the role in August 2016.
The company said that they would have to use her birth name for pay, but that they could use a preferred name on her name badge.
As reported by the press:
A retail assistant has secured nearly £50,000 in compensation from a large high street chain after a tribunal found that she had been harassed and discriminated against on grounds gender reassignment.
The Claimant informed her employers that she was transgender but was told that she would need to use her birth name for pay and official purposes, but that she could use a different name on her name badge, which was her preferred name.
Before starting, the HR team mistakenly changed the preferred name on the IT system and her title from Miss to Mr. This was then printed on her name badge and the daily allocation sheets that were provided to supervisors on the shop floor.
The Tribunal found in the Claimant’s favour in respect of multiple acts of harassment and discrimination, including her colleague referring to her by her incorrect name, even after the Claimant had corrected her colleagues, spraying scent near the claimant and saying ‘I can smell urine, like a men’s toilet’ and discussing that ‘it’s a man’s voice’ and ‘deep voice’. In addition, one of the Claimant’s colleagues told an electrician that he could enter the ladies staff toilets as ‘there are no ladies in there’ when the colleague knew the claimant was in there. There were also multiple other incidents that the Tribunal also found to be discriminatory.
The judge awarded the Claimant £47,433.03 in compensation.
The Judge also recommended that the Respondent should train their managers on how to correctly deal with transgender staff.
Everyone has the right to work in an environment free from discrimination and this case serves as a reminder to employers about the importance of being an inclusive employer.
What Policies Should You Put in Place for Transgender Employees?
Every workplace should consider having a policy in place for transgender employees to avoid finding themselves in the same predicament as Primark.
Such documentation will need to consider both fully transitioned employees, those undergoing a transition or those who just identify as the opposite sex.
This policy should include:
- Preferred name and appropriate personal pronouns for employee documentation
- Any confidentiality agreement between the employer and employee
- Time off and support for those transitioning
- Use of toilet, changing and shower facilities
- Who needs to be made aware of any changes, when and how they will be informed
It is also important that employers have an equal opportunity and bullying and harassment policy in place which is adequately communicated to staff so that any offensive comments or jokes can be appropriately disciplined.
For many transgender people, making the decision to publicly share their transition is extremely difficult so it should always be dealt with in a sensitive and professional manner.
You may find it quite a challenging policy to write up, especially if you are not sure on the laws or the process of transitioning and what it means for your employee.
If you require support with your transgender policy, or any HR issue for that matter, then we have a team of experienced Employment Law consultants who can talk you through your queries and even write up policies for you and your business.
To book a free consultation, call us today on 0845 2626 260.