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Supporting staff

This section provides information to a manager or a colleague on supporting a member of staff who is undergoing gender reassignment.

When a member of staff notifies a manager that he or she has decided to undergo gender reassignment, the manager should arrange to meet with him or her to discuss this and possible issues that may arise.

A range of issues may need to be considered and the Transition Support Checklist will help you to do this.

It will need to be agreed with the staff member how and when colleagues and others are informed about the transition. The manager will also need to agree with the staff member whether others, such as suppliers, students or customers, are informed. If possible, colleagues should be briefed before the staff member attends work as a member of the opposite gender.

If there is a dress code or the staff member wears a uniform to work, the manager and staff member should discuss whether or not any flexibility is required during the transition process and, if it is, agree what form this should take and over what time period.

Managers should meet with the individual regularly to discuss any concerns. Advice may be sought from HR Schools Team and/or Occupational Health to resolve questions that may arise.

Understanding and awareness

In addition to managing the practicalities of the transition process, it may help to provide colleagues with information on gender reassignment. This can help to dispel prejudice and possible hostility due to a lack of awareness or understanding of gender reassignment. Work colleagues should also be asked to refer to the transsexual person by his or her new name and to use the appropriate pronouns.

Managers need to be proactive in ensuring that a colleague who is undergoing gender reassignment does not become the target of bullying, harassment or discrimination. Managers should try to address quickly any concerns that other colleagues may have and remind them of the University’s Dignity at Work Policy and that any incidents of bullying or harassment will be dealt with under the relevant disciplinary procedure.

It should be made clear that these behaviours are inconsistent with the University's policies on equal opportunities and Dignity@Work, and that harassment and discrimination are unlawful.

Support and guidance can be obtained from the HR School Teams or Dignity@Work contacts.