Gender reassignment discrimination

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No employee or potential employee should receive less favourable treatment or consideration on the grounds that they are undergoing gender reassignment or be disadvantaged by any conditions of employment or requirements that cannot be justified. This law is governed by the Equality Act 2010 and covers gender reassignment discrimination in recruitment, promotion, terms and conditions of employment, training, disciplinary and grievance procedures, dismissals and redundancy. Additional rules also apply due to absences from work because of gender reassignment.

The definition of a person with the protected characteristic of Gender reassignment” is a person who is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning a person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex. In the law, reference is made to a transexual person which means someone with the protected characteristic of gender reassignment.

Gender reassignment discrimination can take the following forms:-

Direct gender reassignment Discrimination

This is where a person (A) treats another (B), because of gender reassignment, less favourably than A treats or would treat others.

Indirect gender reassignment Discrimination

This is where an employer applies a provision, criterion or practice equally to all but it puts or would put people of with the protected characteristic of gender reassignment at a particular disadvantage when compared with others or puts a person with the protected characteristic of gender reassignment at a disadvantage and it cannot be shown to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.


A person (A) harasses another (B) if:-

(a) A engages in unwanted conduct for a reason related to B’s gender reassignment; and

(b) the unwanted conduct has the purpose or effect of (i) violating B’s dignity or (ii) creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for B.


A person (A) victimises another person (B) if A subjects B to a detriment because B raises a grievance about gender reassignment discrimination, brings a claim of gender reassignment discrimination, complains about or alleges gender reassignment discrimination or gives evidence or information in relation to someone else’s gender reassignment discrimination claim or because A believes that B has done or may do one of those things. So if for example you are denied promotion or training because of your involvement in a complaint of gender reassignment discrimination, this may be considered victimisation.

If an allegation is made in bad faith or false evidence or information is given this may mean you are not protected.

Absence from work

A person (A) discriminates against a transsexual person (B) if, in relation to an absence that is because B is undergoing a process or part of a process of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attitudes of sex, A treats B less favourably than A would treat B if B’s absence was because of sickness or injury or B’s absence was for some other reason and it is not reasonable for B to be treated less favourably. So if you have time off for the change process and are treated less favourably than someone off sick you may have a claim for discrimination.

If you think that you have suffered any of the above kinds of gender reassignment discrimination then contact us for an initial telephone consultation to assess the merits of your case.