Download Imperial's Trans Staff Policy [PDF, 190KB]

How to be a trans ally

If you're not trans or non-binary, learn how you can be an ally to your trans and non-binary colleagues with our tips on being a trans ally. We have also developed guidance on pronouns.

Imperial College London celebrates and values the diversity of its workforce. The College is fully committed to creating, consistently improving, and maintaining a safe, welcome and inclusive environment for all our trans and non-binary staff, enabling them to work to their full potential and supporting them to have equal access to the services and facilities they need.

The College has a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of transphobia displayed towards staff regardless of their gender identity or gender expression. We value our trans and non-binary staff and recognise the diverse breadth of thought, talent, expertise and contribution they bring to Imperial, thus enabling it to be a world leader in education, research and translation.

The College acknowledges that transition can be a personal and stressful experience. Our Trans Staff Policy (pdf) is intended to assist the College to put its commitment to equality of opportunity into practice. The policy will help the organisation and employees, including trans and non-binary employees, to manage any practical issues that may arise. The policy outlines the College’s position and actions required of all members of staff.

We have also developed a full set of guidance below for employees, HR, managers, and supportive colleagues.

Trans staff policy

Contents

1. Policy statement

2. Scope of policy

3. Definitions

4. Our commitment and the legal obligations

 4.1 Commitment to zero tolerance

 4.2 Discrimination and harassment

 4.3 The legal right to time off

 4.4 Good practice related to time off

5. Our responsibilities

6. Support for staff

7. Related policies and guidance

 

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Centre

Last updated by Kalpna Mistry – October 2020

To be reviewed summer 2021

1. Policy statement

Imperial College London celebrates and values the diversity of its workforce. The College is fully committed to creating, consistently improving, and maintaining a safe, welcome and inclusive environment for all our trans and non-binary staff, enabling them to work to their full potential and supporting them to have equal access to the services and facilities they need. The College has a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of transphobia displayed towards staff regardless of their gender identity or gender expression (see 4.1). We value our trans and non-binary staff and recognise the diverse breadth of thought, talent, expertise and contribution they bring to Imperial, thus enabling it to be a world leader in education, research and translation.

2. Scope of policy

The College acknowledges that transition can be a personal and stressful experience. This Trans Staff Policy is intended to assist the College to put its commitment to equality of opportunity into practice. The policy will help the organisation and employees, including trans and non-binary employees, to manage any practical issues that may arise. The policy outlines the College’s position and actions required of all members of staff.

Imperial strives to ensure that the work environment is positive and free from discrimination (direct or indirect), harassment, bullying or victimisation, and that everyone is treated with dignity and respect. The College has therefore committed to take action to eliminate these behaviours by developing procedures and a policy to address them.

This policy is designed to support trans employees, including non-binary employees. To this extent the policy covers all staff who identify as trans or non-binary. This policy also protects those individuals who are perceived as trans from discrimination.

3. Definitions

The use of language is very varied in this field. One should be led by the language people use to self-identify.

‘Trans’ is used in this document as an umbrella term to describe people whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth (e.g. male or female).

Trans people may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms which can be found in this Stonewall glossary including (but not limited to) transgender, transsexual, gender-queer (GQ), gender-fluid, non-binary, gender-variant, crossdresser, genderless, agender, non-gender, third gender, bi-gender, trans man, trans woman, trans masculine, trans feminine and neutrois.

Transitioning refers to the steps a trans person may take to live in the gender with which they identify. Each person’s transition will involve different things. For some this involves medical intervention, such as hormone therapy and surgeries, but not all trans people want or are able to have this.

Transitioning also might involve things such as telling friends and family, dressing differently and changing official documents.

People who have transitioned may not identify as ‘trans’ but may, for example, describe themselves as a woman with a trans history.

A transgender/trans man is someone who was assigned female at birth, but who identifies and lives as a man.

A transgender/trans woman is someone who was assigned male at birth, but who identifies and lives as a woman.

Non-binary is an umbrella term used to describe people whose gender identity does not sit comfortably with ‘man’ or ‘woman’. Non-binary identities are varied and include people who identify with either no aspects at all or some aspects of the binary male and female identities.

4. Our commitment and the legal obligations

4.1 Commitment to zero tolerance

The College is committed to a zero-tolerance approach to any harm, threats of harm, harassment, bullying or discrimination or any forms of transphobia towards all our trans staff, regardless of their gender identity (being binary or non-binary) and their gender expression. This commitment extends to protect those who are subjected to such behaviour because they are perceived as trans or associated with trans individuals.

As part of this approach and commitment, the College will act in accordance with its disciplinary procedures and processes towards those who inflict harassment, bullying, discrimination or any other forms of transphobia towards our staff. All reports of such behaviour will be taken seriously and investigated. If it is a criminal matter, the police will be notified.

4.2 Discrimination and harassment

At Imperial, discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated on the grounds of gender identity, gender expression, intersex conditions, HIV status nor on any of the Equality Act 2010 protected characteristics.

Discrimination and harassment include (but are not limited to):

  • Making jokes about trans people or their trans status (whether actual or perceived).
  • Behaving in an inappropriate manner towards a trans person (whether actual or perceived), e.g. excluding them from meetings or other team events.
  • Withholding information or training that they need to function and develop in their job role.
  • Consistently using incorrect pronouns or names, e.g. not using affirmed/preferred names or using the previously known names.
  • Personal questioning (or any other conduct) which is unwanted and has the purpose or the effect of violating the other person’s dignity, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive, humiliating or degrading environment for the individual, regardless of whether the individual submits to or rejects such behaviour.
  • Cyber bullying.
  • Physical violence of any kind.

The College provides support for staff experiencing harassment and discrimination.

4.3 The legal right to time off

An employer must not treat a trans staff member less favourably for being absent from work because they have been or are transitioning than they would be treated:

  • if they were absent because they were ill.
  • if they were absent for any other reason (and it would be unreasonable to treat them less favourably than another person).

This includes not treating the employee less favourably when deciding about what time off they should have. The request does not have to relate to a medical process but could be other matters related to their transition. It could, for example, be to take legal advice or to arrange a name change.

4.4 Good practice related to time off

As part of the acknowledgement that transitioning can be a stressful experience and impact a person’s mental health on an ongoing basis, the College recognises that good practice is to allow staff requiring leave related to their transition to be granted leave, as the leave pertaining to transition is protected. The leave requests can be treated as a workplace adjustment made for the individual if they have informed the College of any disabilities they may have. See the disability support pages.

5. Our responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the College and everyone in its community to create a workplace culture where everyone is treated with dignity and respect and everyone is clear that this is what they can expect from each other.

Imperial will respect the confidentiality of all trans staff and will not reveal information without the prior agreement of the individual. The College will provide a supportive environment for staff who wish their trans status or history to be known. However, it is the right of the individual to choose whether they wish to be open about their gender identity. To ‘out’ someone, without their permission is a form of harassment and, possibly, a criminal offence.

A Gender Recognition Certificate will never be asked for by staff members at the College when requesting identification. We make it clear that it is illegal to ask for a Gender Recognition Certificate as a form of identity.

The College recognises that trans staff come from diverse backgrounds and will strive to ensure they do not face discrimination on the grounds of their gender identity or in relation to other aspects of their identity. Transphobic abuse, harassment or bullying (name-calling/derogatory jokes, unacceptable or unwanted behaviour, and intrusive questions) are serious disciplinary offences and will be dealt with under the appropriate procedure.

Transphobic propaganda of any form, e.g. written materials, graffiti, music or speeches, will not be tolerated. The College will remove any such propaganda that appears on the premises.

Staff undergoing medical and surgical procedures related to their transition will receive positive support from Imperial to meet their related needs during this period. The College will be flexible in its approach to time off for treatments pertaining to transition, and absences for this reason will not impact negatively on opportunities for personal progress within the organisation.

Staff will not be excluded from employment or promotion because of their gender identity or the way they express it.

Failure to comply with this policy is regarded as serious and is likely to result in disciplinary action.

6. Support for staff

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Centre

Members of staff may contact the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Centre, who can provide help and advice.

Human Resources

Members of staff can seek support and advice from Human Resources at any time; please contact the HR Staff Hub.

Trade Unions

Employees may also wish to also discuss their situation with their trade union.

Counselling

Confidential counselling is available to all staff through the College’s Employee Assistance Provider, Confidential Care (CiC).

Imperial 600

Imperial 600 is the College's network for LGBTQ+ staff, postgraduate students and their allies. Staff may email them for confidential support.

Harassment Support Contacts

Confidential support is available for staff affected by bullying or harassment in the workplace through Imperial’s Harassment Support Contacts. These are trained volunteers who can help members of staff by listening and exploring the options available to them through formal and informal College procedures.

Stonewall

Stonewall is a charity that campaigns for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. They work to support individuals, change organisations and institutions, provide information and resources, and lobby for legal changes. They are now Europe's largest LGBT charity.

Other useful external organisations

GIRES (Gender Identity Research & Education Society)

The Gender Trust

Press for Change

a:gender

Gendered Intelligence

7. Related policies and guidance

Please refer to the Trans Staff Policy webpage for the following guidance in support of trans staff:

  • Guidance for an employee who is transitioning
  • Guidance for managers to support an employee who is transitioning
  • Guidance for HR to support an employee who is transitioning
  • Guidance for supportive colleagues

Other policies: