One in three UK employers have said they would be “less likely” to hire a transgender person over those who identify with the gender they were born with, with only three per cent holding sufficient equality procedures for trans people in the workplace.
Nearly half of employers were unsure if they would recruit a trans person for a role, according to a survey conducted by Crossland Employment Solicitors of 1,000 employers.
The retail sector was the worst offender, with 47 per cent of businesses unlikely to employ a trans person. Those in IT followed closely behind at 45 per cent, then leisure and hospitality and manufacturing (34 per cent).
The financial services industry was deemed the most inclusive in its hiring practices, but even then only a third of respondents said they were agreeable to the idea of hiring transgender workers, along with the legal sector and construction and engineering.
Recent reports from equality charity Stonewall suggested that half of transgender workers hide their gender identity at work, out of fear for being discriminated against.
Few employers polled by Crossland feel their workplace is “liberal enough” for trans workers, with a lack of knowledge surrounding the Equality Act 2010 leaving more than 77 per cent of respondents unable to answer correctly when asked if there is sufficient legislation in place to protect trans people in the workplace.
“Our findings reinforce what bodies such as Acas and the Women and Equalities Select Committee have been highlighting to the Government for years; trans-identity is more complex than the law currently recognises,” said Beverley Sunderland, managing director of Crossland.
“What is clear is the need to change the law to protect not just those who are going through gender reassignment, but the wider transgender community such as non-binary workers.”
As it stands, the Equalities Act 2010 only protects the anti-discrimination rights of those who are in the process of or intend to undergo gender-reassignment surgery, leaving non-binary workers or trans people who don’t intend to have a medical transformation at risk.
A proposition to update the Act to read “gender identity”, submitted by the women and equalities select committee in 2016, was rejected by government.
A third of all employers polled thought that all trans workers are legally protected against discrimination, despite an equal number admitting that they would discriminate against trans people by not hiring them.
Some 59 per cent are against an extension of the law to protect all types of transgender people from discrimination. Only nine per cent believed the law needs to change.