Sustainable business commentary | Employment |

Gender fluidity discrimination

Overview

Taylor v Jaguar Landrover

The employee in this case had worked as an engineer for the employer for many years. Having previously identified as male, from 2017 onwards, the employee identified as gender fluid and non-binary, and generally dressed in female clothing. The employee was subjected to insults and abusive jokes at work and found management unsupportive.

The employee brought claims of harassment and discrimination on grounds of gender reassignment. The Equality Act 2010 protects individuals who have undergone, are undergoing or are proposing to undergo gender reassignment. The employer argued that this does not include someone who is gender fluid or nonbinary. However, the Employment Tribunal disagreed. It said that gender reassignment discrimination laws do cover gender fluidity and non-binary gender. Further it concluded that the employee had been harassed and discriminated against because of gender reassignment.

The Tribunal expressed their surprise that there was no proper support, training or enforcement on diversity matters until the employee raised their concerns and, although the employer had a good equal opportunities policy, none of the employer's witnesses had ever seen it.

The result in this case is perhaps not surprising, as most would assume that gender fluidity and nonbinary genders are protected from discrimination and harassment. However, it is a reminder for employers to review their equal opportunities policies to ensure these gender identities are covered. It also highlights the importance of employers ensuring managers and training on the equal opportunities policy and diversity issues generally, so that they are aware of their responsibilities in this area.