Employer Resources

Recently, the workplace experiences of transgender employees were profiled by Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz in the Chicago Tribune, along with ways that their respective companies did or didn't support their transition: How companies accommodate transgender employees — and their colleagues. The article notes:

Corporate America has recently made progress toward transgender-inclusive workplaces. Three-quarters of Fortune 500 companies have gender identity protections, according to the Human Rights Campaign's latest Corporate Equality Index, released in November, compared with just 3 percent when it started the report in 2002. Forty percent of employers have at least one plan that covers hormone replacement therapy; in 2002, it was zero.

But it's one thing to have policies. It's another to have a plan to address the nuances of a delicate journey many people struggle to understand.

If you haven't dealt with transgender employees at your workplace, it's a question of time. Is your workplace positioned to help a transgender employee in their transition? Are your policies and training programs in place? Are you familiar with issues that could potentially surface in your workforce as you accommodate a transgender worker? As the above article notes, it is better to have plans and policies in place in advance. We’ve gathered a library of materials that might help.

Employer resources for supporting transgender employees

Employment & Labor InsiderTransgender roadmap: 10 steps the EEOC thinks employers should take

Robin Shea offers ten sensible guidelines, first and foremost of which is including gender identity in your non-discrimination and no-harassment policies. As an employer, you need to make it clear that harassment will not be tolerated, whether the behavior comes from "employees, customers, agents, contractors, sub-contractors, clients," or anyone else. She also stresses the importance of training all employees, particularly managers and HR staff.

Department of Labor: Policies on Gender Identity: Rights and Responsibilities

Human Rights Campaign: Transgender Inclusion in the Workplace: Recommended Policies and Practices

Transgender Law CenterModel Transgender Employment Policy (PDF)

SHRMSupporting Transgender Employees

OPM.govGuidance Regarding the Employment of Transgender Individuals in the Federal Workplace

HR Web CafeOSHA issues guidance on restroom access for transgender workers

HR Web CafeTransgender in the Workplace

HR Web CafeTransgender discrimination


Resources for colleagues working with transgender people

Transgender Law CenterTips for Working with Transgender Coworkers (PDF)

Offers key terms and several tips:

  • Demonstrate respect
  • Recognize the difference between your personal values and the community values of you workplace
  • Respect your coworker’s confidentiality and privacy
  • Don’t assume that your transgender coworkers know everything about all transgender issues
  • Help coworkers who have having trouble with another employee;s transition

Harvard Business ReviewWhat to Do When Your Colleague Comes Out as Transgender

UCLA’s Williams Institute estimates that there are 700,000 transgender Americans – a significant number, but much smaller than the 8 million gays, lesbians, and bisexuals living in the U.S., according to surveys.

  • Unless you're already good friends, keep your reactions to a minimum
  • Take your cues from your colleague
  • Be mindful of the pronouns
  • Relax about the bathroom
  • Do research on your own

Do's & Don’ts for those working with transgender colleagues