Benefits and Compensation, HR Management & Compliance, Talent

The Ins and Outs of Transgender Awareness in the Workplace

If your organization is working toward an inclusive, diverse environment where employees are free from harassment and bias, you’ll want to sincerely consider implementing transgender awareness training and practices.transgender
Research shows that around 1.4 million adults identify as transgender in the United States. And according to research, more than one in four of those transgender people have lost a job due to bias, and more than three-fourths have experienced some form of workplace discrimination. In fact, one study revealed that nearly every transgender employee experiences harassment or mistreatment on the job.
Here are some things to do when implementing transgender awareness across your organization.

Understand the Business Case for Transgender Awareness

Businesses that commit to building a truly diverse and inclusive workforce across the board attract and retain the best talent in their industries. Most job applicants want to work for an employer that invests in diversity and inclusion.
Research shows that organizations committed to inclusion generate more cash flow and are more capable of reaching financial targets. And truly inclusive organizations can’t choose what to be inclusive about. They must be inclusive for individuals with different gender identities and orientations, as well as for individuals with different races, religions, backgrounds, etc.

Establish a Zero-Tolerance Discrimination Policy

As you implement transgender awareness training across your workplace, remember to also establish a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination against transgender employees. Forty percent of transgender employees report hearing jokes about transgender people in the workplace, as well as fear for their personal safety.
So, establish policies to reinforce the idea that workplace discrimination against anyone won’t be tolerated across your organization, and outline clearly how instances of discrimination can be reported and handled.

Address Restroom Access Concerns for Transgender Employees

Many transgender employees are forced to use restrooms that don’t align with the gender that they identify with or as. So, consider having single-stall restrooms that are unisex or that are gender-neutral for all employees to use.
Don’t forget to keep your legal obligations in mind, as outlined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Also, read this guide: Restroom Access for Transgender Employees.

Facilitate Open Discussions

Allow employees to participate in open and safe discussions with one another, so they can talk about and understand what discriminatory phrases and terms they use that may be hurtful to transgender employees.
This will help them understand how to use pronouns and transgender terms more empathetically and inclusively. Furthermore, allow employees to address common stereotypes and myths associated with the transgender community that are harmful and discriminatory.
For more insight into how to facilitate these discussions, explore the Trans Toolkit for Employers published by the Human Rights Campaign®.

Offer Relevant Benefits and Resources

To be more inclusive, offer benefits that include gender-related mental health care, gender-affirming health care, more comprehensive health care for diverse families and their dependents, etc.
Also, make it easy for employees to change their names and gender identifications once they transition. Offer resources that help transgender employees anonymously report gender discrimination in the workplace and get the help they need to work in a safe and inclusive work environment.
To successfully implement transgender awareness across your own organization, consider completing the action items outlined above.