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Too many trans employees lack support from their managers in the workplace, according to new Acas research

Friday 25 August 2017

Prejudice can be a daily experience for trans people but poor awareness from employers about the challenges they face can leave them isolated at work, according to new research.

The study from workplace experts Acas reveals that:

  • Many employers are not up to speed with the law on gender reassignment discrimination, which protects some trans employees from unfair treatment at work;
  • It is often left to the victims of transphobia themselves to inform their managers about the details of the Equalities Act 2010; and
  • Trans people not covered by the Act are even more at risk of being treated unfairly because employers have even less understanding of their experiences.

Acas Head of Equality, Julie Dennis, said:

"Trans people are better supported in UK workplaces now compared to 20 years ago but we still have a long way to go to create a positive environment for those who identify as the 'T' in LGBT.

 "Nine out of ten trans people have suffered from depression so employers should ensure that managers are properly trained to support them.

"We have published new guidance today to help employers, small businesses and managers understand the basics around equality law and ensure trans people are treated fairly at work."

The new Acas guidance on gender reassignment discrimination has information on all these issues, including:

  • How to use the correct terminology while discussing trans issues;
  • Information on which trans identities are protected by the Equality Act 2010 and which are not; and
  • Best practice on how to treat all trans employees, including issues such as recruitment, confidentiality and line manager support.

Stonewall Head of Trans Inclusion, Rebecca Stinson, said:

"We welcome the new Acas guidance, and see it as an important first step to supporting trans employees.

"Workplace discrimination is unacceptable, and trans people, in particular, can face challenges when transitioning at work if they don't have a supportive and informed employer. It is important to recognise that not all trans people are supported by current law, particularly non-binary people.

"However this guidance is a good start and will go some way to supporting trans members of staff and we're pleased to see it launch."

Considerations for employers from the research:

  • It is important for employers to be aware of sensitivities around terminology when managing trans staff and embed policies and practices so that trans people feel that they belong.
  • Employers must not disclose an employee's gender identity without their consent apart from in exception set out in law. And there should be clear protocols for data management to avoid any non-consensual disclosure.
  • Employers should provide managers with good quality diversity and inclusion training.
  • All trans employees should be treated fairly irrespective of whether their gender identity is protected by the Equality Act 2010.
  • Employers should consider how to raise awareness of trans issues and encourage the use of LGBT champions.

Notes to editors

For media enquiries please contact Steven Mather, 020 7210 3749 or For out of hours media enquiries please call the out of hours duty press officer on 020 7210 3600.

  1. The Acas Gender Re-assignment Discrimination Guidance can be viewed Gender reassignment .
  2. The report by the Institute of Employment Studies, Supporting trans employees in the workplace can be viewed here.
  3. The Gender Identity typology, which the Institute for Employment Studies also devised to help businesses understand the language associated with gender identity issues, can be read here.
  4. Total Jobs (2016), Trans Employee Experiences Survey