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My HR Knowledge Bank

Welcome to My HR Knowledge Bank.  You will find frequently asked questions on all current HR Policies and procedures, links to all policies, useful forms, guidelines and toolkits.


I am going through the transgender transition and whilst my manager and colleagues have been very supportive there have been some 'jokes' that make me feel uncomfortable how can I deal with this?

You should not be subject to jokes or comments that make you feel uncomfortable in work for any reason and the Council has policies and procedures in place that make it quite clear that this should not happen.

You should speak to your line manager in the first instance; it may be that a quiet word with the individual/s involved will sort the problem out. People rarely set out to deliberately upset other people in work (although this does sometimes happen) and your colleague/s will probably be horrified to know that their comments/jokes are upsetting you.

If this approach does not work you may wish to consider using the Dignity at Work Policy.

The Council's Dignity at Work Policy can be accessed here.


I have just started my transgender transition and my manager has told me to change the way I dress, is this acceptable?

That depends, obviously you should not be treated any differently to other employees but a manager has the right to ask all employees to dress appropriately for their job. This should be appropriate for your chosen gender and the role you carry out.


Is there a policy in place to support transgender employees or those who may be going through a change of gender?

The Council has a Gender Reassignment Policy that sets out the support available.

The Council's Gender Reassignment Policy can be accessed here.


My colleague has just started their transgender transition and I'm unsure how to address them, or whether to openly talk about it. What should I do?

If you have been told that they have changed their name then use the new name, if you know them well enough why not just ask them how they would like to be addressed and explain that you don't want to offend them but would like to have a better understanding of the 'protocols', if you don't feel comfortable doing that then ask your line manager for advice.


One of my team has just told me that they are about to start the transgender process how do I inform the rest of the team and what can I tell them?

You should discuss this with the team member undergoing the process and no information should be disclosed without their permission.

Obviously other employees will need to know at some stage but it is important that the individual is fully involved in how the communication with other employees is handled, previous experience has shown that individuals have different views on this and it can depend very much on the type of work they do and the size of team they are in.

Information should only be given on a 'need to know' basis. The Council has a Gender Reassignment Policy that provides further information.

The Council's Gender Reassignment Policy can be accessed here.


Someone in my place of work is transgender and whilst I am supportive of them as an individual they are using the toilets in their new gender. I don't want to upset them but this makes me feel uncomfortable. How do I manage this?

It's pleasing to see that you are supportive of your colleague, and it is understandable that it may feel strange for them to use different toilets to those they have been using previously, this is all part of the process and apart from the fact that they have legal rights it's important that colleagues continue to support them so that they can be who they feel they should be.

Try to establish why it makes you feel uncomfortable and try to deal with this on a practical level or speak to your manager or Human Resources for advice.


What is a Gender Recognition Certificate?

The Gender Recognition Act 2004 allows transsexual people who have undergone gender reassignment to apply for a gender recognition certificate.

When a full gender recognition certificate has been issued, the person is considered in the eyes of the law to be of the acquired gender and should be treated as such.

There is no obligation for an individual to apply for a gender recognition certificate.

There are special laws protecting the privacy of someone who has a gender recognition certificate: a person may commit a criminal offence if he/she discloses information about the gender history of someone with a gender recognition certificate without that person's consent.


What records should be kept if an employee is transgender?

Records that need to be kept relating to an employee's previous gender, e.g. qualifications in a previous name, will be kept confidential, with only specified staff having access to them. When the records are no longer needed, they will be destroyed.

After gender reassignment has been completed, records relating to the transition will be destroyed. A new employee record should be made to ensure confidentiality.