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How to make your recruitment process more inclusive for transgender people

Practical guidance for employers on how to create an inclusive workplace for transgender people has been released.

The report, The Recruitment and Retention of Transgender Staff: Guidance for employers from the Government Equalities Office and the membership organisation Inclusive Employers, has advice on how to make sure that recruitment processes do not put up barriers to transgender people.

This begins with the brand, values and website of the employer, it said. Employers should make clear that the values and culture of their organisation emphasise inclusivity and diversity, are well communicated and backed up with activities and plans, such as challenging transphobia (as well as homophobia and biphobia).

Application process

The report recommended that small amendments to the application process could make a big difference, such as offering an 'other' option when gender-specific titles are asked for.

On equality monitoring forms employers can send a signal that they are serious about equality, diversity and inclusion by asking appropriate questions about gender identity and transgender status.

For example, although lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues are often grouped under one umbrella term 'LGBT', employers should ask about gender identity in a separate question from one about sexual orientation, it said.

Monitoring forms could ask if a candidate's gender is different from the sex they were assigned at birth, and include an option of 'prefer not to say', the report suggested.

Interviews and job offers

Recruitment managers should be careful not to make assumptions about gender from appearance, and not ask about an applicant's transgender status.

If an interviewee volunteers this information, managers should praise their openness, assure them of their support if they get the job, but concentrate only on whether the candidate has the skills and experience for the job.

After a job offer, documentation checks can throw up other difficulties for transgender applicants, as names may not tally.

The report recommended that a nominated person in HR could deal with documentation sensitively, retaining only what is needed, holding data securely, and making sure there is no informal sharing of it.

Induction

Once at work, managers should take the lead from the transgender individual on what is discussed about their gender status and with whom.

It may be that the individual is happy for only some colleagues to know about their status, but not everyone. The report stressed that it's always up to the individual to decide who should know.

If an employer reveals information about transgender employees, it's equivalent to 'outing' them, the guidance said. It could place them at risk of discrimination, violate their right to privacy and be an offence under the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

Acas publications and services

Acas has detailed information on Gender reassignment and has published pdf icon Equality and discrimination: understand the basics [415kb] outlining what employers should do to comply with equality, as well as a guide about pdf icon Discrimination: what to do if it happens [435kb].

pdf icon Prevent discrimination: support equality [418kb] explains how employee representatives and employees with equality and diversity responsibilities can promote workplace diversity and encourage non-discriminatory behaviour.

Acas experts can visit your organisation and help you with issues related to bullying, harassment and discrimination, as well as your equality and diversity policy. See Equality and diversity: how Acas can help for more details.

Practical training is also available on Discrimination, Equality, diversity and the Equality Act 2010, Discipline and grievance, Recruitment and induction and Skills for supervisors.

For free, impartial advice and guidance visit Acas Helpline Online.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.


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