Conversations around sexual orientation and gender fluidity or reassignment can be tricky – especially when it comes to the workplace. But did you know that both sexual orientation and gender reassignment are protected characteristics under The Equality Act 2010?
So, just like with other protected characteristics like disability, race and religion, it’s your responsibility as an employer to take them into account and make sure you’re providing a safe, inclusive and equal work environment for everyone. And in a care setting, making sure your employees feel safe and happy will only help them look after for your service users in the best way possible.
A few terms you might want to be aware of…
What does the law say?
The main thing you need to know is that gender reassignment discrimination is illegal in the UK. Gender reassignment is a protected characteristic – so if your employees are being unfairly disadvantaged for reasons related to their sexual orientation or because they’re transgender, you could face tribunal claims and other legal repercussions.
It’s important to mention that The Equality Act 2010 doesn’t explicitly protect those who are non-binary, inter-sex or gender fluid. However, examples of case law do show that they could be protected if they’re considering, going through or have transitioned from their assigned birth sex.
Want to find out more? Check out our full HR basics for transgender employees guide!
When claims go to tribunal…
Other than creating a more inclusive workplace, making sure you’re meeting your responsibilities under The Equality Act 2010 is important because it means you’ll avoid costly tribunal claims. Discrimination claims are uncapped and, on average, can cost between £15k – £25k to defend.
Our HR & Employment Law experts' deep analysis of what’s been happening over the past year when it comes to employment tribunals, and what's likely to come next.
Key considerations for employers
So what does the law look like in practice? What can you put in place to help your LGBTQ+ employees? Just answer these questions to see where you’re up to.
Policies and training
Use of facilities
Absences from work
Data and GDPR
CIPD research has found that over 10% of employees have experienced their LGBTQ+ identity being disclosed without their permission.
Over 20% of LGBTQ+ workers experience discrimination during recruitment and promotion.
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