gender-critical and transgender discrimination cases on the rise
Law firm GQ Littler has recently published research showing that the number of employment disputes relating to alleged transgender discrimination of employees has more than doubled in the past year. A total of nine cases reached the Employment Tribunal (ET) involving alleged transgender discrimination in 2021-2022, as compared to only four such cases in 2020-2021.
These nine cases include: colleagues deliberately and persistently using the wrong pronoun when addressing or referring to transgender colleagues; transgender employees being harassed for using facilities such as changing rooms and bathrooms that align with their gender; employees making transphobic comments on social media.
The Equality Act 2010 expressly prohibits the mistreatment of people with protected characteristics. These protected characteristics include things like age, race, sex, philosophical belief and gender reassignment.
On the other side of the coin, disputes involving employees voicing gender-critical views are also on the rise dramatically. In 2020-2021 only one such claim was brought in the ET, versus six such claims in 2021-2022. Gender-critical beliefs include the belief that sex is biological and immutable, that people cannot change their sex and that sex is distinct from gender identity. In June 2021 it was ruled that people with gender-critical beliefs are also potentially protected against mistreatment because of their beliefs which, it was held, can be deemed a philosophical beliefs.
The research shows that this culture war continues to gather steam and we are likely to continue to see an increase in gender-critical and transgender discrimination cases in the years to come.