In September, the Employment Tribunal upheld claims brought against Jaguar Land Rover for victimisation, direct discrimination, and harassment on the grounds of gender reassignment.
Ms Taylor had worked for the company for almost 20 years as an engineer, previously presenting as male. Ms Taylor began to identify as gender fluid in 2017 and started dressing in women’s clothing, which provoked insults and abusive jokes from colleagues. Ms Taylor also suffered difficulties using toilet facilities. JLR had argued that due to Ms Taylor’s non-binary identity (meaning an individual does not experience gender exclusively as a male or female), they were not protected against discrimination under the protected characteristic of gender reassignment.
The Employment Tribunal ruled that non-binary and gender fluid individuals should be protected under the Equality Act 2010. The Tribunal stated that as gender is a spectrum, Ms Taylor fell within the definition of gender reassignment “beyond any doubt”. Ms Taylor was awarded £180,000 in compensation and JLR have since issued an apology.
This is an important step forwards with regards to the legal protections available to members of the LGBTQ+ community, which had previously been unclear. The outcome also confirms that people with other complex gender identities may also fall within the definition of gender reassignment under the Equality Act 2010.
Employers should be aware of the breadth of protection afforded to their employees and aim to educate their entire workforce, through diversity and inclusivity training, robust equal opportunity policies and anti-bullying policies. There are a range of practical steps an employer can take, with some examples listed below;
- Including diverse gender information on employee records, not just “male” or “female”.
- Using the name an employee asks that you use rather than the name they have previously been known by.
- Understand that different non-binary people may use different pronouns. Many non-binary people use “they” while others use “he” or “she”. Employees who identify as non-binary should be asked whether they should be referred to as “he,” “she,” “they,” or another pronoun and this should be respected in all communications.
- Dress code and other internal policiescan be worded neutrally. It is important for non-binary people to be able to live, dress and have their gender respected.
- Accept that toilet facilities can be a challenge. For many non-binary people, using either the women’s or the men’s toilet might feel uncomfortable. Support should be offered, and the options discussed and agreed with them.
If you require any further assistance or specific advice, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of the Employment Team at CG Professional.
Please note this article is not intended to be construed as legal advice and should not be treated as a substitute for specific advice.