Bargaining for trans workers rights

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2012 National LGBT Conference
26 July 2012
Carried as Amended

Conference is concerned that trans workers still face high levels of prejudice and discrimination when seeking work and once in work. A 2011 Government Equalities Office survey found that nearly half of trans employees experienced discrimination or harassment in their workplaces and 88% said that ignorance of transgender issues was the biggest challenge they faced in employment. People replying to the survey highlighted transitioning at work as one of the most significant triggers for discrimination.

Conference notes that the 2010 Equality Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against any person who is proposing to undergo, undergoing or who has undergone a process – or part of a process – of gender reassignment. It is also unlawful to treat people less favourably for being absent from work for gender reassignment than they would be treated if they were ill or injured.

Yet despite this ban on discrimination for all employers, plus the positive duty on public bodies to give due regard to the need to advance equality of opportunities and foster good relations in relation to gender reassignment, many employers fail to address trans workplace equality.

Conference notes the need for:

1)Equality policies which make explicit reference to gender identity, gender expression and gender reassignment;

2)Specific policies on gender reassignment;

3)Other workplace policies to address the particular issues which may arise for trans people, including sickness absence policies, dress codes, criminal records checks – awareness of the sensitive casework procedure – and other pre-employment checks.

Conference therefore calls on the National lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Committee and regional and branch LGBT groups to:

A)Draw the attention of branches, negotiators and equality reps to UNISON’s bargaining advice ‘Transgender workers rights’;

B)Draw the attention of branches and workplace reps to UNISON’s ‘Introductory guide for trade union reps supporting trans members’;

C)Encourage the negotiation of specific policies on transitioning at work, in advance of the need for their implementation rather than after an issue has arisen;

D)Highlight the particular issues around absence management for people transitioning at work and workers with a trans history;

E)Highlight the particular issues about confidentiality for people transitioning at work and workers with a trans history.