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Gender Reassignment

January 17th, 2010

Discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment


Definition of transgender discrimination

It is unlawful to treat a person less favourably because he or she intends to undergo, is undergoing, or has undergone gender reassignment. because it is perceived that he or she intends to undergo, is undergoing, or has undergone gender reassignment. or because they associate with someone who  intends to undergo, is undergoing, or has undergone gender reassignment.(direct discrimination).


It is also unlawful to impose a provision, criterion or practice which puts persons intending to undergo, undergoing, or who have undergone gender reassignment at a disadvantage when compared to others (Indirect discrimination).


Scope of unlawful transgender discrimination

The scope of unlawful discrimination against job applicants and employees includes prohibition of discrimination in offering employment, in the terms of employment, refusing employment, in the way the employer provides access to promotion, transfer, training or receiving any other benefit, subjecting a person to a detriment or dismissing them.

In some circumstances an employer may be able to justify less favourable treatment.

Harassment on the grounds of gender reassignment is also unlawful. Harassment is defined as unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading humiliating or offensive environment.

It is also unlawful to victimise someone for complaining about discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment.


Absences relating to gender reassignment

The Equality Act 2010 also makes it unlwful to treat a transexual who is absent from work because of gender reassignment less faviourably than someone who is absent from work because of sickness or injury or than someone who is absent for some other reason and it is not reasonable to treat them less favourably.

Enforcing rights

Claims of unlawful discrimination can be brought by job applicants, employees, workers, contractors, and others by issuing a claim in the Employment Tribunal. There is no qualifying period of employment, before a claim can be made, but any claim must be registered with the Tribunal within 3 months of the act of discrimination, or where there has been a series of incidents which can be characterised as a single act of discrimination, within 3 months of the latest  incident of discrimination.


There is a provision for a potential Claimant to obtain information in relation to a potential claim of discrimination by sending a questionnaire to the employer.

Employers are liable for the discriminatory conduct of their employees even if they did not know about it at the time. Exceptionally, if an employer has done all it can do to prevent unlawful discrimination, it may be able to avoid liability.

Claims can also be brought against the individuals who caused the discrimination, employees might choose to do this because they want the individual to be liable for what they did, if there is a risk that the employer can avoid liability, or if there is a risk of the employer’s business going into liquidation.


Tips for finding a solicitor to deal with a claim of discrimination

Specialist legal knowledge and experience is a good start, but to “get the edge” it is useful to find a solicitor with experience of representing clients at Employment Tribunals, particularly at the Employment Tribunal where your case is likely to be heard. This is because familiarity with the way a Tribunal is likely to assess particular cases and particular circumstances helps effective advice and preparation right from the start.

Most of our experience here at John Halson solicitors is based in representing clients at the Liverpool Employment Tribunal which covers claims arising from people who have worked in north and central Cheshire including Chester, Warrington, Northwich, Middlewich, Winsford, Tarporley, Ellesmere Port, Great Sutton, Frodsham; and Merseyside including Liverpool, Birkenhead and the Wirral,  Widnes, Runcorn, St Helens, Kirkby, Maghull, Skelmersdale, Ormskirk, Southport, and Formby.

We also regularly appear in the Manchester Employment Tribunal and occasionally in the Leeds, Birmingham and Shrewsbury Tribunals.



ACAS guidance

Equality and Human rights Commission



Please note that the information on this page is intended to be a guideline and is therefore a summary of the law only and not a complete guide. Before taking any action based on this information you are strongly advised to take legal advice. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained on this page is up to date and accurate, no guarantee can be given to this effect.

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