18 September 2020 #Employment
Non-binary engineer, Rose Taylor had been subjected to bullying and harassment at the hands of work colleagues and faced a lack of support from management at Jaguar Land Rover. The poor treatment had started in 2017 when Taylor first identified as gender fluid/nonbinary and started changing the way she presented herself, including wearing women’s clothing. Taylor brought claims in the Employment Tribunal for harassment, direct discrimination and victimisation on the grounds of gender re-assignment. Gender re-assignment is one of the nine protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010. However, it was uncertain, up until this point, whether the gender re-assignment definition would cover individuals who identified as non-binary or gender fluid.
The tribunal held however that it was “beyond any doubt” that Taylor should be protected under the gender re-assignment characteristic. Taylor’s claims for harassment, direct discrimination and victimisation were all successful on this basis. In reaching a decision, the Tribunal judge commented that it was clear that “gender is a spectrum” and that gender reassignment “concerns a personal journey and moving a gender identity away from birth sex”.
The importance of this judgement is that it increases the chances of other individuals with complex gender identities falling within the definition of (and therefore under the protection of ) the gender re-assignment definition in the Equality Act 2010.
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