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How Should an Employer Manage Transgender Employees?

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This was considered by the Employment Tribunal in the case of Miss A de Souza E Souza v Primark Stores Ltd.

The Claimant, a transgender woman, applied for the role of retail assistant with the Defendant, Primark. On the application form the Claimant referred to herself as her female name (which would appear on her name badge), but was informed by the Defendant that her male name (as on her passport) would be required for payroll purposes.

On commencing work, the Claimant found her male name was in fact used on her name badge as well as on the daily rota. Due to the Defendant’s failure to respect her privacy, the Claimant was bullied by other staff as a result of her transgender status. Staff referred to her “having evil inside her” and the Claimant was consistently referred to as a man. As a result, the Claimant raised numerous grievances and subsequently resigned.

The question posed was whether the Claimant had been constructively dismissed and had indeed suffered discrimination on the grounds of her gender reassignment.

The Employment Tribunal, in their findings, held the Claimant had in fact been constructively dismissed and the Defendant was held vicariously liable for direct gender reassignment discrimination for failing to deal with the matter appropriately and failing to preserve the Claimant’s privacy. The Claimant was awarded £25,000 in respect of injury to feelings and compensation for loss of earnings, and the Tribunal made recommendations to the Defendant for managing transgender staff in the future.

This decision provides clear guidance to employers on what is expected of them when managing transgender staff.

If you require advice on any of the issues above or any other area of Employment Law, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Chattertons’ Employment Team.