Gender Reassignment discrimination

Gender reassignment is a personal, social, and sometimes medical process by which a person's gender appears to others to have changed. Anyone who proposes to, starts or has completed a process to change his or her gender is protected from discrimination under the Equality Act. A person does not need to be undergoing medical supervision to be protected. So, for example, a woman who decides to live as a man without undergoing any medical procedures would be covered.

Key points

There are four types of discrimination.

Direct discrimination

Is when someone is treated differently and not as well as other people because of their gender reassignment. It breaks down into three different sorts of direct discrimination or treating someone 'less favourably' because of:

Indirect discrimination

Can occur where a workplace rule, practice or procedure is applied to all workers, but disadvantages people who want to undergo, are undergoing or have undergone gender reassignment. An example might be a rule or policy that makes individuals say if they have undergone gender reassignment.


When unwanted conduct related to gender reassignment causes a distressing, humiliating or offensive environment for that person.


Treating an employee unfairly because they have made or supported a complaint about gender reassignment discrimination.

It is discrimination to treat transgendered, or trans, people less favourably for being absent from work because they want to undergo, are undergoing or have undergone gender reassignment than they would be treated if they were absent because they were ill or injured.

Employers should ensure they have rules in place which help to prevent discrimination in:

Employers can support trans people at work through.

Employees should make sure that they consider the following.

Making a claim for Gender Reassignment discrimination

If an employee feels they been discriminated against, they will be able to bring a claim to an Employment Tribunal. However, it's best to talk to their employer first to try to sort out the matter informally.

Claimants who wish to bring a claim to the tribunal or appeal tribunal will have to pay a fee. The first fee will be paid to issue a claim and a further fee will be payable if the claim goes to hearing. There are two levels of fee which will depend on the type of claim. Further information is available from Ministry of Justice - Employment Tribunal guidance.

Through the Acas Helpline you can get advice on specific problems, and explore alternatives to an Employment Tribunal claim, such as Mediation, where appropriate.

Protected characteristics video

This video introduces and explains the nine protected characteristics.