The University recognises that a lot of thought goes into deciding to transition, especially when someone is established in their career. We understand that this is a personal issue that has a major impact on all areas of life, and are committed to supporting individuals. Every situation is different, and the approach and timetable should be determined by the individual.
Transitioning has a wider impact on family, friends and colleagues, and may strain personal relationships and established support networks. We encourage members of staff who are transitioning, or who have transitioned, to work with the University to agree an approach, and to make use of available support. In addition to their key contact, the individual may also want to access support from the Occupational Health Service, the LGBT+ Staff Network or unions.
Recruitment and selection may be a worry for transgender applicants. Highlighting the University’s commitment to equality and diversity in all recruitment materials can help to reassure job applicants that they will be treated fairly.
Good practice is to make decisions only on the basis of how the individual’s skills match the essential and desirable criteria of the role. Issues for panels to bear in mind are:
Trans people may find interviews awkward, if they fear being judged on the basis of their appearance and perceived conformity to gender stereotypes.
Look carefully for any additional instructions on contacting referees, or check with the applicant. Never assume anything other than the current name, unless told otherwise
Prospective members of staff are asked for identity documentation such as a passport or birth certificate to check that they have a valid entitlement to work and reside in the UK, and may also be asked for evidence of qualifications. Care should be taken to deal sensitively with a trans applicant whose documents may reveal their gender identity history. It is important that all documentation is held confidentially, only processed by those immediately responsible for personnel administration, and not held for longer than necessary.
A procedure exists within the University for applying for Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks without the completed form being seen by departmental staff, if individuals express concerns about this. This may apply to job applicants or students who need a DBS check for a work placement. Applicants who have transitioned, for example, may be concerned about ‘outing’ themselves if they previously had a different name. The individual may have a confidential discussion with the University’s Head of Vetting or the Vetting Administrator. It is important to respect the individual’s right to privacy.
Transgender applicants may use the DBS confidential checking service.
Where a member of staff is transitioning, it is important to consider the needs of the individual alongside the requirements of the employing department or college. The University does not attempt to prescribe the amount of additional leave that may be appropriate in each case; departments have discretion to authorise additional paid or unpaid leave according to individual circumstances. It is expected that individuals may take a mixture of annual leave, sickness leave (for any medical procedures) and additional paid or unpaid leave. It is not possible to predict in advance how much leave may be needed for medical procedures and recovery.
Most people have to travel for specialist medical care and oversight at a gender identity clinic, necessitating a longer period away from the office.
People may have other appointments relating to transition, such as laser hair removal or sessions with a speech therapist.
Intersex people can face medical issues that sometimes affect their working life. Some have experienced involuntary medical treatment during childhood which may leave a legacy of poor mental health. Some people require frequent hormone replacement and many have impaired fertility. Some may choose to have surgery. It is very important that personal privacy is respected, and that confidential medical information is not shared.
Individuals who change their gender identity should check how this affects their pension arrangements. The age at which an individual becomes eligible for a state pension depends on their legal sex. In the past arrangements were different for men and women, but these are gradually being harmonised. It is the responsibility of the employer to take suitable steps to keep confidential the reason for the individual’s apparently early or late retirement.
Most occupational schemes offer a Death in Service lump sum and a Dependant’s Benefit. The individual should ensure they have completed an ‘expression of wish’ form.
Former employees who transition after leaving employment with the University, may want to inform the University to ensure that any references use the individual’s correct name and gender.
When I came for my interview I was nervous. Not because of the work, which I was overly qualified for, but because I read stories on discrimination against trans people on a weekly basis. It may be illegal in the UK, but I still know people who have been turned away from jobs for no good reason. I myself had suddenly found many companies who ‘always had a position for me’ suddenly did not. The truth is, trans people expect to face discrimination and hostility during interviews. It was rather amazing when my interview actually concentrated on the work I was applying to do, and a relief. (Staff)