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Employment Law Case Update: Gender-Fluid and Non-Binary Employees
- AuthorEmployment Team
A recent case has added further to the ever-evolving situation regarding gender-fluid and non-binary employees and the protections afforded them under the Equality Act. This is an area with fast moving precedents and it’s one to watch. Our Employment Law team here review the case and offer their advice on steps employers should take.
An Employment Tribunal (ET) has said that individuals who are going through gender reassignment have the same protections under the Equality Act as those who identify as gender-fluid or non-binary.
An individual who identified as gender fluid and who had worked as an engineer at Jaguar Land Rover for 20 years has won a claim against her employer after she was subject to jokes from colleagues and had difficulty using the toilet facilities at work. Ms Taylor previously presented as male when she began her employment with the firm, but went on to identify as gender-fluid and non-binary in 2017.
Ms Taylor, who dressed in women’s clothes, brought claims of harassment, direct discrimination and victimisation on the ground of gender reassignment to the ET where she also stated that she received very little support from management and was not allowed to retract her resignation from the company.
In response, Jaguar Land Rover argued that Ms Taylor was not covered by the definition of gender reassignment under Section 7 of the Equality Act because she was a gender-fluid/non-binary individual. However, the ET responded to this argument by saying that Ms Taylor does in fact have the protected characteristic of gender reassignment.
Ms Taylor won her claim against Jaguar Land Rover and was awarded aggravated damages due to the insensitive way she was treated. A hearing will be held next month to decide the amount of compensation Ms Taylor will receive.
This case demonstrates once more that employers need to pay close attention to evolving rights in an area of workplace management which always requires and deserves sensitive handling.
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