Guide Helps Employers Create Fair Policies for Transgender Workers

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<strong>Washington</strong><br />The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the nation&rsquo;s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, has released a guide that aims to provide human resource and other employment professionals with best practices for transgender workplace inclusion &mdash; from discrimination and benefits policies to internal practices that reflect how gender is expressed and integrated in the workplace &mdash; as well as the state of legal issues encompassing gender identity in employment situations. <br /><br />&ldquo;Transgender Inclusion in the Workplace&rdquo; covers topics such as appropriate terminology with which to discuss gender identity and expression, the creation of policies that protect transgender workers from discrimination and the expansion of diversity programs to include gender identity and expression.<br /><br />&ldquo;In the absence of a federal law that prohibits workplace discrimination based on gender identity, it is up to employers to take the lead and implement policies that ensure all their employees are protected,&rdquo; said HRC Foundation President Joe Solmonese. &ldquo;With this guide, the HRC Foundation hopes to help managers educate themselves and their workers on these sensitive and increasingly visible issues, as well as the consequences of failing to do so.&rdquo;<br /><br />The new guide recommends steps employers can take to facilitate peaceful, safe and healthy gender transitions for employees. Among these are the adoption of inclusive nondiscrimination policies, removal of discriminatory health-insurance exclusions, development of dress codes that avoid gender stereotypes and can be enforced consistently, the protection of employee privacy and the incorporation of gender identity and gender expression into diversity training programs.<br /><br />&ldquo;Transgender Inclusion in the Workplace&rdquo; is a publication of the HRC Foundation Workplace Project that promotes basic fairness in employment. The Workplace Project also publishes the Corporate Equality Index that rates some of the nation&rsquo;s largest employers on their GLBT-friendly employment policies. In the 2008 edition, more than half of rated employers (58 percent) reported they included have added protections based on gender identity in their nondiscrimination policies.<br /><br />&ldquo;Employers can use &lsquo;Transgender Inclusion in the Workplace&rsquo; to create work environments where all employees are able to dedicate their skills and energy to the work at hand, rather than worrying about being harassed or fired because of who they are,&rdquo; said HRC Foundation Workplace Project Director Daryl Herrschaft.<br /><br />The Workplace Project also coordinates the HRC Business Council, which provides expert advice and counsel on GLBT workplace issues based on their business experience and knowledge.<br /><br />&ldquo;So many of the obstacles that workers face when they transition in the workplace can be mitigated if executives, managers, and staff &mdash; including human resource professionals &mdash; are educated about transgender issues,&rdquo; said HRC Business Council member Diego Sanchez. &ldquo;This guide goes a long way toward making workplaces safe for all employees, and the fact that it is continually updated fortifies its relevance.&rdquo;<br /><br />&ldquo;Until we have a fair-minded Congress and president who will make a fully inclusive ENDA the law of the land to treat the GLBT community as equal Americans in society, there will be an urgent need for employers to use resources like &lsquo;Transgender Inclusion in the Workplace,&rsquo;&rdquo; said HRC Business Council member Meghan Stabler. &ldquo;Even after an inclusive ENDA is enacted, we&rsquo;ll need this resource to eradicate the ignorance and fear that make it so difficult for workers to transition in the workplace.&rdquo; <br />

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