The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against or treat someone unfairly because of gender reassignment.
The Act's protected characteristic of gender reassignment currently has a specific meaning:
- it covers someone who proposes to go through, is going through or has gone through a process, or part of a process, to change his or her gender from man to woman or woman to man. A person making this change is described in the Act as a 'transsexual' person
- gender reassignment does not have to involve any medical supervision. For example, a person who chooses to reassign his or her gender and lives permanently as the opposite sex without having any hormonal or surgical therapy is protected
- genders outside of man (which includes woman transitioning to man) and woman (which includes man transitioning to woman) are not explicitly protected under UK law. They are the non-binary identities - for example, those who might identify as neither man nor woman. But, someone with a non-binary identity could be protected if they are discriminated against because they are thought to be considering, thought to be going through or thought to have gone through gender reassignment from man to woman or woman to man, regardless of whether this perception is correct or not.
To understand examples of gender reassignment discrimination in the workplace, how they can be effectively dealt with, how to reduce the chance of future discrimination, and best practice for employers and colleagues to also support employees with non-binary identities, click this link ACAS web site for more info