Bloomberg Law for HR Professionals is a complete, one-stop resource, continuously updated, providing HR professionals with fast answers to a wide range of domestic and international human resources...
May 9—HR professionals should be careful not to include transgendered employees as an indistinguishable component of a larger LGBT community, delegates at the Human Resources Management Association conference in Vancouver were told April 27.
“These are very different communities with very different needs,” Elizabeth Reid, an attorney with Vancouver’s Boughton Law, said.
While many trans people do not need or seek accommodation, some adjustments may be needed in the workplace, Reid said, among these;`
“Gender identity is legally determined by the individual,” Reid said, citing the 2014 Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench case C.F. v. Alberta (Vital Statistics), 2014 ABQB 237, and the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario case XY v. Ontario (Government and Consumer Services), 2012 HRTO 726 (CanLII).
It is vital for company management to meet with a person who is transitioning, according to Drew Dennis, principal partner in the Vancouver-based TransFocus Consulting firm, which advises organizations on transgendered workplace issues.
Corporate management should find out how they can help and who is going to communicate the transition to staff, Dennis told Bloomberg BNA.
“Often that burden will fall to the employee to do the communicating,” Dennis said. “I think that’s an unfair burden.”
The employer should avoid the situation where a trans employee just shows up one day presenting in a new gender identity, which “can create some challenges,” Reid said.
Not all Canadian jurisdictions have specifically named transgendered as a protected area, leaving it under ‘sex,’ Reid said, even though “gender identity is not a sexual orientation.” It is rather “a sense of one’s own gender.”
Gender identity is a “deeply held internal sense of being male, female or something else,” Reid continued, having nothing to do with biological, birth or genetic status.
Transgendered protections are included in the human rights codes of some Canadian provinces, Reid said.
British Columbia, for example, accords the transgendered protections by including the characteristic under “sex” in the Human Rights Code. On the day of the conference session, Spencer Chandra Herbert, a member of BC's Legislative Assembly, was presenting for the fourth time a bill to specifically add transgendered protections to the code, for which the government of Premier Christy Clark (Liberal) has shown no support.
In this situation, a trans employee who can establish that an employer action taken because of a protected characteristic did (or was perceived to) harm a trans employee and had an adverse workplace impact on the employee has a prime facie case of discrimination under human rights codes, according to attorney Marino Sveinson of Bull Houser.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy Hainsworth in Vancouver at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Vollmar at firstname.lastname@example.org
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)