GENDER REASSIGNMENT DISCRIMINATION
Wednesday 20th January 2021
In the case of Taylor v Jaguar Land Rover Ltd, the Tribunal found that a gender-fluid person in the process of transitioning from a man to a woman, but who had no intention of having medical treatment or reassignment surgery, could still have the protected characteristic of gender reassignment.
Ms Taylor was an engineer for Jaguar and told her managers in 2017 that she was transitioning from male to female. When she started to attend her workplace in female attire, she began to suffer harassment and discrimination. This led to her resignation and she then complained of various forms of discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment and thus constructive dismissal.
The Tribunal found that Ms Taylor’s colleagues had openly ridiculed her appearance and referred to her as “it” as well as asking her whether she was going to “have her bits chopped off”, and that these were clear examples of mistreatment. Jaguar argued that Ms Taylor was not within the protected characteristic of “gender reassignment” because she often described herself as “non-binary” or “gender fluid”.
The Tribunal found that Ms Taylor was protected as she was on a clear “journey” of transition which didn’t require a medical procedure. Therefore, the Claimant succeeded in her claims of discrimination, harassment and constructive dismissal.
This case demonstrates to employers that employees who identify as gender fluid or non-binary are likely to have the protected characteristic of “gender reassignment”, regardless of whether or not they have undergone (or intend to undergo) a medical process. Employers who do not address and prevent discriminatory treatment, bullying and harassment in such cases are likely to be faced with claims against them.