Revised edition 2011
Section 1 LGBT equality today: the context
Section 2 Using the right language
Section 3 The Law: (1) Equality Act 2010 (2) GRA (3) Civil partnership (4) pensions
Section 4 Workplace issues and good practice: policies and training; workplace benefits; pension schemes; provisions for time off; bullying and harassment; domestic violence; Public sector equality duty; Trans workplace issues
Section 5 Monitoring
Section 6 Challenging prejudice, promoting equality - recognising diversity, training and networks
Section 7 Resources
In contrast to the situation even twenty years ago, the position of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) people in Britain has been transformed out of all recognition. However, the problems that remain are substantial and trade unions, which have played a major part in winning the improvements gained in recent years, still have work to do.
There have been significant improvements on every front. Legally, with a few exceptions explained in this guidance, LGB&T people now enjoy the same protection and the same rights as any other citizen, consolidated through the 2010 Equality Act, both in employment, and in access to goods and services. The public sector equality duty requires all public bodies to promote equality on grounds of sexual orientation and gender reassignment just as for any of the other protected characteristics. Same sex couples cannot marry (yet), but in most other respects, those registering a civil partnership have access to the same rights and responsibilities as married heterosexual couples. Obstacles to adoption and other 'family' matters have been removed.
Accompanying the legal reforms have been dramatic changes in attitudes. Surveys of public opinion have reported a continuous reduction in popular prejudices. The number of 'out' members of parliament has never been greater. None of the major political parties now supports any position other than equality, and the 2010 general election was the first ever in which all the national parties actually competed with each other to appear the most LGBT-friendly. With such a climate, it is extremely unlikely that there will be any attempt to backtrack on the equality laws.
However, a stubbornly large minority of public opinion remains hostile, and if these people (around one third of the surveyed population) are open about their resistance to LGBT equality, it might be wondered how many others have responded with what they think they are now meant to say, rather than genuinely reflecting deeply-held convictions. As the history of racism confirms, it can take a very long time before prejudice is finally rooted out - and the continuation of racism in the UK after a much longer period in which it was no longer officially acceptable than LGBT equality has enjoyed should be a reminder of the scale of the problem.
There remain whole areas of life where homophobia and transphobia are rampant, and effectively unchallenged. No single player in Britain's most popular sport (as of 2010) has dared to come out. Education - where the next generation should be learning to respect difference and diversity - instead remains a hotbed of bullying. Homophobic and transphobic hate crimes continue. The media continues to give space to the views of reactionary bigots disguised as columnists and reporters.
There are improvements taking place in all these areas, thanks to the efforts of LGB&T campaigners themselves, and of their allies, but the reality for too many LGB&T people in Britain is that being open about their sexuality or gender identity is still not a safe option. The Office for National Statistics asked about sexual orientation for the very first time in its general household survey in 2010. Superficially, the result seemed to suggest that just 1.5% of the population is lesbian, gay or bisexual. But a study of the actual figures reveals instead that what the survey shows is that only that percentage is willing to be identified. In large parts of the country, and among older age groups, the smaller proportions of people answering the question positively confirm not that there are fewer LGB people over 60, or in the countryside, but that more of them feel constrained to remain closeted.
This background is also important for unions, as there is no artificial wall between the workplace and the football terrace or public bar. By challenging prejudice at work, unions will also help defeat it in society.
In identifying the main issues for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members, the most important resource is the union's own members. The majority of trade unionists belong to unions which have recognised this reality and have established structures for their LGB&T members. A list is provided in the appendix. But sexuality and gender identity are characteristics that call for particular understanding when deciding how to consult members and how to monitor. Later sections of this guidance offer advice on how to get this right. Members who are intersex (some organisations now include intersex people and describe themselves as LGBTI) will face similar problems at work.
Section two explains why the correct use of language is important if LGBT members are to feel at home and welcome within the union. Section three looks at the law, section four at some common workplace issues.
Sexual orientation and gender identity are two areas that are particularly sensitive to the use of the right terminology, and it is important that trade unionists are aware of the issues involved. Some terms commonly used to describe LGB and T people are completely unacceptable and very hurtful. This is not just an issue of 'political correctness', therefore something that can be dismissed as superficial or unimportant. Just as with any other area of equality, oppressive language should be unacceptable in any context. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people have always been marginalised or put down as second class through the use of oppressive language, while trans people have to confront abuse based on similar prejudices about what is or is not normal or natural. Employment tribunals have been coming down hard on employers who permit or encourage the misuse of language in the guise of 'banter', recognising its power to harass and discriminate.
Historically, LGB&T people have sometimes adopted the words used to put them down - such as 'queen' or 'queer' - as a badge of pride. In recent years, there has been a movement of people who reject the gender norms of society altogether, and identify themselves as 'queer'. In situations where an individual has made it explicitly clear that this is how they want to be described, that is fine: but in the great majority of situations, whether in a workplace environment, or negotiating with the employer, or organising within the union, the TUC advises strongly that lesbian, gay or bisexual should be used to describe these sexual orientations - and in that order too, because, although it is not alphabetical, it is the approach adopted by almost all LGB community campaigns and organisations, to reflect the need to highlight that women - lesbians - are not a sub-group of gays. For sexual orientation, therefore, use LGB, and do not think that the word 'gay' will cover everyone, because it won't.
For people who identify that their birth gender is not the gender in which they wish to live, whether or not they choose to undergo the whole (medical) process of gender reassignment, the single term transgender can be used without causing offence. Some people, who have undergone reassignment, will identify as transsexual, and that term can be used if the individuals prefer it. The short term 'trans' can happily apply to either group and will usually satisfy everyone.
In this guidance, some sections apply specifically to LGB people and some specifically to trans people, and some to both groups. The majority of trans people have decided to ally themselves with the LGB community, and most organisations of LGB people have welcomed them: hence the term LGBT is now in widespread use, including by the TUC and most trade unions. Of course, some trans people are themselves lesbian, gay or bisexual, in which case they are protected by the laws on sexual orientation as well as those on gender reassignment. But because different laws apply to each characteristic (sexual orientation, gender reassignment), and because there are distinct workplace issues for each group, these are treated separately in this guidance.
One of the risks associated with using the shorthand 'LGBT' is to forget that all of the component parts have their own particular concerns and issues. In recent years, trans people have become much more vocal about ensuring that their own priorities - which are quite different in important respects from those facing LGB people - are not simply lost in the generic term. Similarly, bisexual people have had to confront a variety of challenges, including from within LGBT organisations, which need to be recognised and addressed. Advice on these points is given in section six.
In summary, TUC advice is to use the terms lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender or LGBT, but recognise that these are each distinct groups of people whose particular needs must be catered for. The simplest way to ensure that this happens is to provide space for each group to prepare its input into any generic LGBT structure, if resources permit, otherwise to devise a mechanism for ensuring that all the distinct voices are heard.
Important note: nothing in this section should be regarded as a definitive statement of the law.
1. The Equality Act 2010
With the passing into law of the Equality Act (EA) 2010, all previous equality legislation has been consolidated into a single statute. For LGB people, reliant previously on various regulations and amendments introduced piecemeal over the last dozen years, this consolidation represents recognition of formal equality with all other equality groups. For trans people, previously reliant on government responses to court judgements and coverage by sex discrimination law, the creation of a protected characteristic of 'gender reassignment' alongside the other protected characteristics also represents a significant improvement in status.
In the context of continuing prejudice against LGB&T people in wider society, the Public Sector Equality Duty created by the Act represents an important potential that unions will need to exploit.
On the downside, the new law continues to allow various exemptions that mean that complete legal equality has not yet been secured.
The law is accompanied by very detailed Codes of Practice produced by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which are difficult for lay persons to use. The website of the Government Equality Office (GEO) however contains practical interpretation of the Equality Act in accessible language, illustrated with helpful examples (www.equalities.gov.uk).
(b) Who is protected
The definition of who is protected against discrimination by this law is the same as before for sexual orientation, but has been changed for gender reassignment. The EA has removed the previous requirement for there to be medical supervision of gender reassignment. This brings the law into line with the wording of the Gender Recognition Act (2004), meaning that the (many) trans people who live their lives in the opposite gender without undergoing medical procedures can claim the protection of the law against discrimination on the grounds of their gender identity. The EA states that protection applies to people 'intending to undergo... a process' of gender reassignment, but the Code of Practice on employment spells out that this means 'a personal process, that is, moving away from one's birth sex to the preferred gender, rather than a medical process', and does not require the medical or surgical steps that some trans people opt to go through.
The law covers employees, job applicants, self-employed, apprentices, contract workers, partners in firms and office holders.
The law also covers qualifications bodies, employment service providers, trade associations (including trade unions), members of local authorities, and trustees of occupational pension schemes.
(c) Prohibited discrimination
The EA prohibits:
on grounds of the following 'protected characteristics':
For the first time, the prohibition of indirect discrimination now applies to gender reassignment as well.
Harassment has continued to be the main reason for LGB people to claim discrimination, and employment tribunals have regularly made substantial awards where people have faced such treatment (there have been very few cases reported of unfavourable treatment by trans workers, but this may change with the establishment of the separate protected characteristic of gender reassignment in the EA). It is important to note that the definition of what constitutes harassment is wide, and includes what employers have often attempted to defend as no more than 'workplace banter'. Such defences have rarely worked, and employers are also liable if they have not themselves encouraged the behaviour, but have not acted to prevent it.
However, the Act has deliberately excluded sexual orientation, gender reassignment and religion or belief from the grounds protected against harassment in the context of schools. The government argued that direct discrimination provisions would suffice to protect students who might be at risk from such harassment.
Association and perception
The law covers 'association' and 'perception'. That is, anyone facing discrimination on the grounds of the protected characteristic of someone with whom they are associated can claim the protection of the law. Similarly, someone facing discrimination because they are perceived to have a protected characteristic is also protected: for example, a worker facing harassment because she is thought to be a lesbian, even if she is not, can claim protection against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
Third party harassment
Employers are also liable for harassment from third parties, where the employer knew about it, where it has happened at least twice before, and where they have not taken reasonable steps to prevent it. Despite the qualifications, this offers some protection to a LGBT worker facing harassment from (for example) a member of the public and will obviously help shop workers and others whose job involves routine contact with people other than their colleagues. However, please note that (at April 2011) the Government has decided to consult on repealing this section altogether.
There is a general positive action provision in the EA which mirrors what was in the Sexual Orientation Regulations 2003. It allows an organisation to treat people who share a protected characteristic differently to others in a similar situation, if that treatment is to address different needs or historic disadvantages associated with the protected characteristic or to address under-representation of people with that protected characteristic in a particular activity. The organisation would have to show that the treatment must be a proportionate means of achieving the end of meeting different needs or remedying historic disadvantage or under-representation.
The EA also permits positive action in recruitment and promotion, although in very limited circumstances. Where an employer reasonably thinks that there is a disadvantage associated with a particular protected characteristic or under-representation of people with that protected characteristic in their workforce or in a particular job, and where they have two candidates who are as qualified as each other for a vacancy, they are permitted to select a candidate from the disadvantaged or under-represented group. Since there is very little monitoring of either sexual orientation or gender identity and the problems that LGB&T people face in UK workplaces, and no firm evidence of the size of the respective populations, it could well be very difficult for an employer to demonstrate that it was reasonable for them to think that there was under-representation or disadvantage.
As previously, challenges to employment related discrimination need to be brought before an Employment Tribunal within three months of the act complained of.
(e) The public sector equality duty
From April 2011, all public bodies or bodies carrying out public functions are under a legal obligation to promote equality for the groups protected by the EA (except for marriage/civil partnership). Specifically, they are obliged to have 'due regard' to the need to eliminate 'discrimination, harassment, victimisation' and any other conduct prohibited by the EA, to promote 'the advancement of equality of opportunity between those who share a particular characteristic and those who do not', and foster 'good relations between those who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not'. This amounts to what is termed the general duty.
Previous equality duties applied only to race, disability and gender. So LGB people are included for the first time, and trans people are now fully included, having been only partially covered by the previous gender duty.
The retention of the 'due regard' provision in the new equality duty means that case law developed under the previous equality duties interpreting what 'due regard' means in practice remains applicable. In particular, case law has made clear that public bodies have to consciously consider equality issues at a formative stage in the decision-making process, that evidence needs to have been collected sufficient to demonstrate they had considered the impact on equality for different groups, and where negative impacts have been identified, the public body must show that it has considered how the proposal might be altered to avoid such impacts or whether it could take other action mitigate the impacts. The process of doing this needs to have been documented or otherwise it will be hard for the public body to show that they have paid due regard to equality. Failure to carry through this process lays the public body open to judicial review by anybody with a sufficient interest in the fulfilment of the duty. Clearly, trade unions are likely to have such an interest.
The specific duties that previously existed under the race, disability and gender equality duties spelt out the procedures that public bodies were expected to do in order to give effect to the general duty like monitoring, training of staff and engaging with local communities to develop equality schemes, have been replaced with a new set of specific duties that are designed, according to the coalition Government, to be less bureaucratic and to increase democratic accountability. The new duties require public bodies to publish information rather than take specific actions or put in place certain procedures. However, for Scottish and Welsh public bodies, the devolved administrations have set their own specific duties which are more similar to the old specific duties.
The new specific duties that will apply to non-Scottish and non-Welsh public bodies listed in the EA will come into force from 31 July 2011.
They include an obligation to publish information about the impact of the organisation's policies and practices on employees who share a protected characteristic (if employing over 150 people) and on service users similarly. EHRC non-statutory guidance recommends that workforce information should include the likely representation of LGB people provided no individual can be identified from the information. It does not recommend publishing information on the representation of trans people in the workforce but does recommend the organisation publish information on the likely issues trans staff may face.
NOTE: as at April 2011, the Government has again withdrawn the draft specific duty regulations and will consult on a third version that is expected to be less prescriptive.
In the meantime, the guidance on the public sector equality duty published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, referred to above, remains in force, and although it is not statutory, negotiators can continue to cite it as support for good practice in implementing the equality duty.
Failures to carry out the general duty can be challenged by means of judicial review, as described above, however challenges to an alleged failure to comply with specific duties must be made by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Unions believe that the equality duty offers great potential for making genuine progress in challenging prejudice, but the changes in the nature of the specific duties will place greater responsibility on organisations such as public sector trade unions to ensure that the opportunities are exploited. There is more on this in section 4.
As previously, there are exemptions that limit the scope of the EA.
The new law reproduces the wording of the original regulations that allowed discrimination in employment where the job is for the purposes of an organised religion. Following the trade union challenge to this wording of the 2004 regulations, on the grounds that it was not compliant with the European directive it was meant to transpose, the interpretation of the law has been that the exemption had to be defined very narrowly, as covering only ministers of religion and a small number of other posts whose main function is to promote the religion. This narrow interpretation has been generally upheld by courts since that time. The issue of whether the wording of the EA (which was originally tightened further by the previous Labour government, but then restored to its original form in the House of Lords) is compliant with the European Directive was under consideration by the European Commission at time of writing.
It is important to understand, therefore, that the law does not permit organisations established 'for the purpose of organised religion' or 'with a religious ethos' to discriminate against employees or prospective employees on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender reassignment except in the narrow circumstances described.
Nor does the law allow for one set of rights not to be discriminated against to trump another: this has been the ruling in a number of high profile cases where individuals have argued that they have the right, because of their religious belief that homosexuality is sinful, not to provide (for example) a service to LGB people. This argument failed in the Court of Appeal in the case of Ladele and the London Borough of Islington (2009 EWCA Civ. 1357) and again in the case of McFarlane and Relate Avon Ltd (2010 EWCA Civ. B1). These important rulings have confirmed that religious belief is not a justification for discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.
The new law has replaced the previous exemptions in the old discrimination laws known as 'Genuine Occupational Qualifications' and 'Genuine Occupational Requirements' with a very similar provision called 'Occupational Requirements'. This allows an organisation to apply a requirement that someone must have a particular protected characteristic to do a job and that it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim for them to apply such a requirement. This exemption will apply to a very narrow range of jobs, for example, if recruiting for the Chief Executive of a charity advocating LGB rights then this provision could be relied upon to require that person to be LGB.
The shift to Occupational Requirements in the EA has resulted in a weakening of rights for some trans people. Gender reassignment discrimination was previously covered by the Sex Discrimination Act and if there was a Genuine Occupational Qualification under that Act for someone to be a man or a woman in order to do a job that the law stated that a person who had undergone gender reassignment and had a Gender Recognition Certificate had to be treated according to their acquired gender and could not be disqualified from applying for such a job. However, there is no such provision in the Occupational Requirement exemption in the EA. Under the EA, an employer can adopt a requirement that someone must not have undergone gender reassignment, provided they can show it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim to apply such a requirement to a particular job, and no regard has to be paid to whether or not a person holds a GRC. Whether or not this backward step was an error or deliberate will have to be tested out in the courts interpreting the intention of parliament and the test of 'proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim'.
2. Gender Recognition Act 2004
The GRA enabled trans people to acquire full legal equality in their acquired gender. Anyone obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate is entitled to have documentation changed to reflect their acquired gender (for example, birth certificates). The GRC is granted by a Gender Recognition Panel, and can be applied for by anyone who has lived in their new gender for two years and intends to do so permanently, and can produce medical evidence to support this. Anyone currently married, however, can receive only a time-limited interim certificate and they will have to divorce their current marriage partner before obtaining a full GRC. Subject to this qualification, someone with a GRC is able to marry or form a civil partnership.
The GRA brings new privacy rights. It is important to understand that anyone - including a trade union representative - who acquires information about someone's trans status is liable to criminal proceedings if they pass that information to a third party without the permission of the individual. That would include, for example, an employer or other union officials.
Someone intending to undergo a medical transition to their new gender will require sometimes substantial time off work in order to undergo the treatment. Someone in this position has the right to be treated in the same way as anyone absent from work for reasons of sickness or injury. Unions should view this as a starting point for negotiating sufficient time for the process - this is covered further in section 4.
3. Civil partnership
The Civil Partnership Act 2004 created rights equivalent to marriage for same sex couples who register their relationship as a civil partnership. The law enables civil partners to claim the same tax arrangements as apply to married couples, the same access to next-of-kin rights, and no liability for inheritance tax.
Public opinion on same sex couples has improved dramatically since the CPA came into force, and there are currently (2011) strong pressures to change the law to permit same sex marriage.
4. Occupational pensions and civil partners
Civil partners must be treated in the same way as married partners in terms of access to employer benefits. The EA provides that civil partners are only entitled to equal treatment in terms of access to benefits dependent on marital status going forward from 5 December 2005 (the date the Civil Partnership Act came into force).
However, following vigorous trade union campaigning, the Civil Partnership Act 2004 was used to amend the Pensions Scheme Act 1993 and various pensions regulations to ensure equality in pension survivor benefits for civil partners where there is an occupational pension scheme that is contracted out from the State Second Pension in place. As a result, the law provides for service to be backdated to 1988, the equivalent date as for widowers' pensions, in contracted-out schemes. This is a legal obligation.
For pensions that are not contracted out, however, there is no legal obligation to backdate service beyond 5 December 2005 for the purposes of calculating survivor benefits for civil partners. It is understood that this affects a minority of private sector pension schemes, although such schemes may choose to backdate further.
It is important to remember, however, that heterosexual unmarried couples, and same sex couples who choose not to register, are excluded. Nor are heterosexual couples allowed to register as civil partners.
5. Equality and Human Rights Commission
Whereas previously, trans people's rights fell within the scope of the Equal Opportunities Commission, LGB people had no statutory body to which to turn for support and advice. With the merger of the three previous equality commissions into the Equality and Human Rights Commission, this position was changed and LGB as well as trans people fall within the remit of the new body. The Commission has a role in enforcing equality (and human rights) law, in advising and supporting individuals, in researching the position of LGBT communities, and in lobbying for positive changes in policy and practice. Resource constraints mean that its support for individual cases is strictly limited to those it judges to have a larger strategic impact, and it has already intervened in several sexual orientation cases to help ensure the right outcome. Unions will generally be expected to represent LGBT members themselves, but the EHRC does run a helpline (see Appendix for details) and its website (www.equalityhumanrights.com) contains much useful advice and guidance, and (2011) access to the Codes of Practice for the Equality Act as well as guidance on implementation of the law.
The previous section spelt out the way in which equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people has become established in law, with a few exceptions. This transformation in legal status is of great importance both in itself, and because of the basis it provides for changing peoples' real lives. For trade union reps and officers, awareness of the law is vital, not so much because it offers recourse to justice if all else fails, but because it can be deployed as a lever in negotiations with management.
This section will consider some common workplace issues for LGBT people - and some of them will be different for trans people - and recommend good practice solutions.
Policies and training
As all trade unionists know, there is a sometimes a difference between having a policy, and implementing it, and this is just as true for equal opportunities policies. However, the necessary first step is to persuade the employer to adopt a policy. Unless there a reference to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans equality is spelt out on the face of the policy, it is unlikely that any specific action will be taken. With the Equality Act now in force, there is every incentive for an employer to grasp the need to confirm their commitment to equality in detail, if they are to avoid the risk of unlawful discrimination. For the public sector, with its liability to the equality duty, there is even more reason to be specific, because implementing the equality duty in the way the law intends requires awareness of the issues affecting LGBT communities as well as understanding of the most effective ways to engage with them.
Over the years since unions began working on LGB&T equality, a growing number of employers have been persuaded to include LGB&T in their organisation's policy. This is particularly so in the public sector. Although some employers have taken this step on their own initiative, or in response to the initiative of a staff LGB&T group or an 'out' senior person, unions have continued to play the major role.
Since the beginning of the TUC's audit of union equality policies and actions, there has been a steady increase in the number of unions producing their own guidance and policies on LGB&T issues - the proportion of unions having such policies stood at 56% in the 2009 audit, representing the overwhelming majority of trade union members. In the same audit, unions were asked separately about policies on trans workers for the first time, and 35% responded positively. Clearly, there is still some way to go before complete inclusion of LGB and trans issues is achieved in trade unions, but the progress has been substantial.
Unless senior managers in an organisation are aware of equalities issues, it will be hard for the organisation as a whole to respond positively to the equalities agenda. The TUC has therefore always called for leadership to start at the top. At a time when many employers have recognised that if they want to recruit and retain the most talented workers, being seen as a progressive employer has become accepted as a necessary step. That means being seen as 'LGB&T-friendly' in a clear and public way: explicit inclusion of LGB&T equality in the organisation's policies and recruitment materials, clear statements from the top - and actual good practice that will enhance the organisation's reputation.
The Stonewall Workplace Equality Index
The LGB charity Stonewall has run the Workplace Equality Index since 2006, measuring employers against a range of markers covering equality policy, staff engagement, bullying and harassment policy, senior role models, delivery of policy, development and training, monitoring, community development and supplier diversity. As a result of a discussion with the TUC, the Index from 2011 onwards incorporates references to involvement of trade unions. The announcement of the top places in the Index regularly attracts considerable media interest. In 2010, a large majority of the top 100 were public sector organisations, therefore the potential for trade union participation is high.
The TUC has issued guidance to unions on how to approach the Index (available from the TUC website), and encourages negotiators to get involved from the outset.
The Index does not cover trans people, however, but there is nothing to prevent unions ensuring that employer policies developed to promote sexual orientation equality should not provide the opportunity to simultaneously develop policies for trans workers.
To negotiate effective policies for LGB&T members, and to represent them on LGB&T issues, requires that representatives are trained. The ideal will be for reps and officials to take part in dedicated training on lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans issues in the workplace, including on the legal background, and focussing on common workplace issues such as those highlighted in this publication. Some unions offer their own training courses on equality issues, others make use of those provided by TUC Education. Since 2007, TUC Education has offered training based on the publication Out at Work. This provides a thorough grounding in all relevant issues.
Whether or not it is possible to run a dedicated course, the TUC recommends that equality is a core element of basic training for representatives and officials. The consolidation of all previous equality law into the Equality Act 2010 makes it possible to approach the different strands of equality within a common context. However, it would be all too easy to lose sight of the specifics of each strand within the overall approach, therefore it is recommended that space is allowed for presentation and discussion of the issues with which unions need to be familiar, with signposting to the union's own specific guidance, and this publication, for more detailed information.
The law requires that packages of benefits offered to their workers by employers must not discriminate on grounds of any of the protected characteristics. Many employers had already extended the offer of benefits to the spouses of married workers to those in civil partnerships before the Equality Act. Such things as travel concessions, health care packages, free or subsidised membership of particular facilities (etc) must be offered without discrimination to civil partners, where they are offered to spouses. Where, in addition, they are offered to unmarried heterosexual workers' partners, they need to be offered to same sex partners not registered as civil partners. In workplaces where they are limited to spouses and civil partners, of course, unions will want to ensure that in the name of fairness the same benefits are extended to unmarried heterosexual and same sex partners too.
As outlined in section 3, there is a legal requirement to include registered same sex (civil) partner survivors in occupational pension schemes. UK law, however, continues to discriminate by limiting the backdating of this benefit to 1988, and this has yet (as of 2011) to be tested in court. Meanwhile, other schemes (especially in the public sector) have agreed to more generous terms for same sex partners.
The Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) provides equal survivor benefits to both spouses and civil partners, as well as survivor pensions for 'nominated co-habiting partners'. Only benefits accrued since 6 April 1988 counts, although members can pay additional contributions themselves to extend the period.
Several employers in the private sector have already modified their pension schemes to ensure that there is not discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or marital status. These schemes set a benchmark of good practice that unions should seek to persuade their employer's pension scheme to follow.
Schemes which allow equal benefits that are not reliant on a discretionary power of the trustees are clearly preferable, even if this power has previously been exercised in a progressive way.
Provision for time off
Many employers already have policies in place allowing their workers to take time off in a wide range of specific circumstances arising from non work-related events- bereavement, domestic emergencies, illness of children or dependents (etc). By law, such facilities have to be extended to civil partners where they exist for spouses, but likewise in a position where they are offered to unmarried heterosexuals, they must also be offered to lesbian, gay or bisexual workers in analogous situations.
Bullying and harassment
It has been known for a long time that the most common complaint raised by LGB&T workers has been of bullying and harassment in the workplace. Despite the advances made, however, research continues to demonstrate that the problem has not been resolved. The defence that the behaviour only amounted to ordinary 'workplace banter' has long been found unsustainable by employment tribunals, and the clear message of the law has been that an employer allowing this to continue will be liable for the misbehaviour of their employees. Substantial damages have been awarded where a case has been proven.
Case study 1
In the case of Mitchell v.The Vincent Group, the claimant had been dismissed after being off sick with depression, following homophobic comments by his manager (who was also his father) who had reduced his hours after he had 'come out'. The Tribunal awarded damages of £28,890 including £10,000 for injury to feelings (2007).
A second example shows the response of the courts to a failure to treat a complaint of sexual orientation harassment in a non-discriminatory fashion.
Case study 2
In the case of Rondeau v. G4S, the claimant won a case for harassment and for discriminatory treatment, after he had faced offensive comments from a female colleague, then been suspended when she falsely accused him of inappropriate behaviour, although she had not been suspended when the allegations were found untrue, and he had himself complained of her behaviour. The Tribunal awarded £62, 525 compensation (2009).
The well known case of English v. Thomas Sanderson Ltd, which went to the Court of Appeal, ended with the judgement (in 2008) that protection against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation applied whether or not the victim of the treatment was homosexual or not, as the unlawful behaviour had been 'on the grounds of...'. The Equality Act confirms that this is the correct interpretation to follow.
As noted in section 3, there have been very few reported cases involving gender reassignment. However, there is no suggestion that tribunals have been less willing to punish errant employers where the case is proven:
Case study 3
In Marland v. P&O Ferries, a trans crew member claimed to have been driven out of her job by the behaviour of fellow crew members. The Employment Tribunal found that the employer had failed in its duty to protect her from 'an atmosphere of intimidation and hostility caused by the fact that she was undergoing gender reassignment', and that managers had failed to provide guidelines. The compensation awarded amounted to £65,000 (2006).
The above case was taken as a claim for sex discrimination, but would now fall under the Equality Act gender reassignment protected characteristic.
Nonetheless, union representatives need to be aware that despite these reports of large awards, there has been, overall, a low number of cases of sexual orientation discrimination going to tribunal in the years since employment discrimination was first outlawed in 2004. Studies by ACAS and by the TUC have confirmed that many cases are settled in advance of a hearing, but that, compared with other discrimination cases, the totals are low. In the absence of qualitative studies to identify why the continuing harassment faced in many workplaces is not reaching employment tribunals, the reason is possibly the fact that too many LGB&T workers are still not willing to 'out' themselves by complaining about (for example) homophobic or transphobic workplace cultures, or to risk publicity in their local area by taking a case to tribunal.
It is therefore essential that workplace representatives are trained to understand that many LGB&T workers and members may not feel confident about outing themselves at work, or to their representative, and that this situation will certainly not improve if negative comments and 'banter' are prevalent within the workplace.
In any large workplace, if no one is out as LGB or T, the probability is not that there are no LGB&T workers there, but that the workplace culture is hostile. Therefore, unions need to focus on including LGB&T issues in negotiations with management, and to dispute the argument 'we don't have any of those people here'.
It is only recently that unions have begun to be aware that domestic violence is not only a domestic, but also a workplace issue. TUC advice on the issue reported that one in four women will experience it at some point in their lives, and no fewer than half of trade union women in a survey had experienced, or knew of colleagues who had experienced, DV. A similar statistic has been estimated to apply to people in same-sex relationships, while in addition, up to one-third of young LGBT people can face violence from their families while they are living at home.
The consequences for the individual at the receiving end can include many related to work. They may include periods of absence or sickness. In many cases, individuals will feel extremely isolated and in need of support. However, they will be very reluctant to discuss DV with colleagues or representatives, and such reluctance will be all the greater for those in a same-sex relationship if the workplace is not LGB&T-friendly.
It is not the place of union representatives to attempt the skilled work of counselling those facing DV. However, unions can ensure that information on support services and helplines is offered (for example, on notice boards). Unions can also negotiate with employers to ensure that if a case of DV is brought to their attention, certain key principles are followed. These must include a right of absolute confidentiality. They should also say that all necessary steps will be taken, if required, to protect the person facing DV from further danger if this might happen through the workplace itself. Such steps may be called for if the perpetrator works in the same place, or if they don't, but try to locate the new contact details for the person suffering the DV through contacting the workplace.
The Public Sector Equality Duty
As the new duty has only recently come into force, it is too soon to know whether it has been employed with good effect for LGB&T people. However, the inclusion of sexual orientation in the public sector equality duty established by the Equality Act 2010, and the establishment of a distinct 'gender reassignment' characteristic in the same legislation, creates a big potential for trade unions to promote equality for LGBT workers and communities, and to extend this to employers who are working on public contracts.
The law requires public sector bodies to have 'due regard' to the need to eliminate discrimination and harassment, to advance equality of opportunity, and to 'foster good relations' between those sharing a particular characteristic and those who do not (see section 3, above, on the Equality Act).
It will be obvious that in order to carry out these duties in respect of the sexual orientation and gender reassignment characteristics, a public sector employer needs to have put in place policies that are sufficient to meet the requirements of the duty. Where the employer only has a generic equal opportunities statement, for example, it should be possible to have them expand this to include specific commitments to each protected group. Then, in order to make the policy effective, it will be necessary to ensure that there is a training programme for those with management responsibilities.
One of the strengths of the equality duty has been the requirement to assess the impact of policy decisions where they affect protected groups, and the emphasis on the benefits of consulting them: although this is not set out in the Equality Act in such a way as to compel employers to take any particular steps, they are required to publish who they have consulted. However, this in turn raises some challenges for unions if they are to persuade management to act. Who, exactly, should they consult? How should they reach out to LGB&T workers or communities for this purpose? Unions with existing LGB&T structures (as is the case in most public sector unions) are recommended to discuss these questions in their structures, to identify answers to such questions.
One sector where it has been particularly hard to make progress has been education, despite insistent campaigning from LGB&T organisations and unions. The PSED offers a particularly important lever to bring about consistent change in this sector and unions in the sector will need to equip themselves to take advantage of at a local level. The obstacle here is not lack of resources: guidance and information are available, it is lack of will.
Another issue on which public sector unions in particular will need to prepare a view is the question of monitoring. As explained in section three, sexual orientation and gender reassignment are two areas where the Equality Act specifies that it is not necessary for the employer to carry out monitoring, and although it is not, of course, prohibited, it may be difficult to convince the employer to attempt this. More information about recommended monitoring processes is given in section five.
Without monitoring of some kind, it will be impossible for the employer to know whether there are problems facing LGB&T workers. If the employer cannot be convinced to monitor workers' sexual orientation, then it may be worth advocating other kinds of evidence gathering, such as confidential surveys to establish whether there are problems such as bullying and harassment, including grounds of sexual orientation among other possible grounds.
Recommendation: the Public Sector Duty
The PSED has the potential to greatly improve the working lives of LGB&T people, but only if it is used. Unions may need to use the duty as a lever for negotiating changes. In particular, it will be important to use existing trade union LGB&T structures as a means to identify what issues to prioritise.
The process of changing gender is slow and arduous, with significant consequences beyond the purely medical for the individual undergoing it. These facts may have significant consequences in the workplace, for which union representatives will need to be prepared. Here is an outline of the stages that most transsexual people will have to go through before achieving their desired gender. However, the timings of the various stages vary significantly between individuals, and each situation will be unique.
Those undergoing treatment through the NHS will begin by receiving specialist medical advice and diagnosis. They will be expected to commit to the 'real life test' (see below) before hormones are prescribed. Those being treated privately may be prescribed hormones before committing full time to the real life test. At whatever point they begin the real life test, this is the most likely time when they will have to deal with issues around their gender role at work.
The next stage is that the individual begins to live as a member of the new gender, and may have records changed to reflect this (such as driving licence and passport). The period during which the person is living and working in their new gender is called the 'real life test'. One year is the minimum period for the real life test recommended under the international standards of care, however NHS patients are likely to be expected to have a minimum of two years and often more.
Finally, for the individual intending, and able, to undergo surgery, after one or two years of hormone therapy, the person undergoes corrective surgery to complete, physically, the transition from the previous to the opposite gender. The timing of this varies according to local funding and waiting lists.
The process can be very stressful requiring support and sympathetic handling from all concerned, and there is an obvious need to adopt the right approach in the workplace where the transition can have significant impact both upon the individual and upon colleagues.
In any situation where a trans member approaches the union for support, one principle needs to underlie the approach adopted by union representatives. At every point in the process, the steps to be taken must be agreed with the member, and the maximum confidentiality must be observed for as long as the member wishes that to be the approach. Each individual situation will be different, but requires the same respect for the wishes of the member if their transition to a new gender is to be brought about successfully in a workplace. Developing a plan with the individual covering some of the issues listed here will be a good approach, and must necessarily include taking these to management (while preserving confidentiality) to secure agreement with the proposed steps.
Some of the issues likely to arise at the point of transition are:
In larger workplaces, the member may wish to transfer to another position at the point at which they adopt their new gender, and it is important to discuss how to manage this with management in order to achieve the best outcome. Early contact with an appropriate manager, or Human Resources departments, will be necessary, and this may involve identifying a specific individual with whom to plan the transition process, in order to limit the number of people who know (should the individual want this approach).
Whether or not the individual remains in the same post, a plan for support during the transition and after will need to address such questions as what information and training will need to be provided for managers and colleagues. It will often happen that the person undergoing transition will wish to take leave before returning to work in their new gender. This will provide the opportunity to brief managers and colleagues and to ensure that management stress the need for proper treatment of the worker.
The plan will necessarily include how to deal with the time off needed for medical treatment. There is no standard length of time for such treatment, which varies with the individual, but might be some months. Trans people will need to take time to attend a Gender Identity clinic at intervals up to and beyond surgery, and also sometimes for other aspects of transition such as hair removal and speech therapy. It is important that as a minimum the same policy is applied as for sickness absence, and if it is possible to obtain special leave for this period, that would make the stress of that time easier to manage.
The plan will need to identify the point at which the individual's new gender is formally established in terms of the employer's personnel records, and any consequent alterations (for example, security passes, the individual's choice of name for directories etc). The right of the individual to maintain the confidentiality of their previous identity needs to be secured as part of this stage. Many employers keep individual records for long periods and it needs to be organised such that access to past records that reveal the individual's previous gender identity is strictly controlled and limited on a 'need to know' basis.
It would be good practice for an employer with a dress code to allow flexibility during transition, and to respect the individual's wishes as to when he or she was comfortable to change into the form of dress appropriate for their new gender.
Agreement needs to be reached on use of toilets and changing facilities. Here, it will be appropriate to agree with managers that the individual starts to use the facilities for their new gender at the point where they begin to live in that gender. Other approaches, such as requiring the trans person to use the toilets for disabled workers, will not be appropriate unless, of course, the individual is disabled. Clearly, at this particular point, it will be necessary to explain the situation to work colleagues as well.
If the employer does not already include gender identity among the grounds covered by a policy against harassment, it will be important at an early stage to ensure that this is negotiated. Trans people may be particularly vulnerable to abusive and harassing behaviour and it must be made clear to all that this will not be tolerated.
Union representatives may need to negotiate to obtain the best outcome for someone who has changed their gender and remains part of an employer's pension scheme. At a minimum, the individual should be treated as a member of their acquired gender from the date of transition. It may be appropriate to seek the advice of the union's pension experts to ensure that the most beneficial outcome is negotiated.
As part of the overall approach of respecting the right of the individual trans worker to decide what they wish to be disclosed about their present or previous identities, unions need to negotiate with managers to ensure that no such disclosure is made without the express permission of the individual. This applies in particular to the provision of references if the individual decides to leave for another employment.
There will be further issues that arise subsequent to the transition and/or the obtaining of a GR certificate.
As considered above, long-standing employment records may well reveal the trans person's previous gender identity, and where records are retained over a long period issues arise over who should have access to these records and what should be done in the event that someone's previous gender identity is revealed without the person's permission.
It is strongly recommended that union representatives negotiating on behalf of a trans member and who feel they need more expert advice consult the websites from trans organisations listed in the final part of this Guide.
In recent years, since discrimination in employment was outlawed, a growing number of employers have started to monitor the sexual orientation of their staff. Advice given by organisations such as Stonewall has been strongly in favour. Before discrimination was made illegal, the TUC advice had been that it should not be done. After the legislation arrived, the TUC's advice was that it should be done, but only after a number of important questions had been answered in the affirmative - in particular, whether the employer had an equality plan in place, whether staff had been briefed in advance and knew what use the employer would make of the information, and whether the survey would guarantee confidentiality.
These considerations remain relevant today, but TUC advice now is that unions should press for monitoring of sexual orientation within the context of the employer having a commitment to act on the findings of a survey, and to guarantee confidentiality.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission came out strongly in support of monitoring to collect data on sexual orientation in 2009 (Beyond Tolerance: making sexual orientation a public matter, 13-16), and offered good arguments that can be cited to convince employers of the importance of doing this.
The position of the law (the public sector equality duty in the Equality Act 2010) does not require employers to monitor sexual orientation.
The question of whether to monitor gender identity (gender reassignment) is much more difficult, for reasons explained below.
A starting question needs to be: what will we do with the information when it is collected? Surveys of gender and race (all much longer established areas for monitoring) can be compared with national statistics to identify if there is under-representation. This cannot be done for LGB or T people, since there are no reliable statistics on the size of the population - the first ever question on sexual orientation was asked in the 2010 general household survey, and the result demonstrated how many people were still unwilling to identify themselves as LGB. There is no question in the 2011 census, so there will continue to be no data against which an employer can measure the number of LGB staff they have.
Nonetheless, if a staff monitoring survey produces figures showing a very small number (say 1% or fewer) of people identifying as LGB, it is a fair conclusion that there really are LGB people in the workforce, but they are not willing to risk disclosing that even in a confidential survey. Such findings should alert the union to the need to propose further action by the employer.
So the main use of the evidence would be to identify if LGB people are facing discrimination such as harassment or bullying. In order to provide more usable information, it might be best if the survey was presented as a broader attitude survey, in which people were invited to respond to questions about their experience at work as well as which groups they identify with. Such surveys can, by correlating the answers, reveal where urgent remedial action is needed by the employer.
Even where an organisation has a good equality policy and practice, and this is conveyed to staff, experience shows that response rates can still be low. The reason is sometimes that people are still scared to risk outing themselves. Many people regard their sexuality as a purely private matter, no business of the employer, and therefore refuse to answer. The likelihood that a significant number of individuals will adopt this approach should be taken into account when considering the numbers thrown up at the end of the process.
Other people refuse to 'label' themselves, while others again refuse to accept the wording, preferring to call themselves something else altogether (e.g. 'queer').
Unions may need to be ready to argue that these considerations are not sufficient reason not to carry out a monitoring exercise.
The other issue about response rates is that experience shows that these tend to rise when surveys are repeated - and of course they need to be repeated at intervals if they are to measure progress.
It will almost always be essential to guarantee to respondents that they cannot be individually identified in the survey. This may require careful thinking in the design, so as not to be able to associate people on certain grades or departments with responses to other questions in the survey - there may not be many (e.g.) black lesbian staff on grade x in a department, as people completing the form will well know, and be less likely to respond if they do not wish to be open.
Monitoring at recruitment should anyway be done with a separate, detachable, monitoring form kept separate from individual application forms.
Employers will generally ask questions about sexual orientation based on legal definitions. As the law defines orientation as 'gay, lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual' these are the terms most employers will opt for. It may however be better to use the heading 'sexuality' rather than 'sexual orientation' as the latter, although the legal term, may confuse some people.
The TUC recommends that there is a second question alongside the question about sexuality/sexual orientation. This should be 'Are you out at work?' Comparing the answers to this question to those to the first question immediately offers a picture of whether there are problems to resolve. The answer may not actually show whether there is a problem of people fearing the consequences of being open, because some people (see above) do not believe it should be a public matter, but a large discrepancy between the two figures would warrant further investigation.
Whether to monitor 'gender identity', in other words to ask whether any staff identify as transgender, is a much more difficult issue.
The civil service trans group, a:gender, argues that doing a headcount of trans people in a workplace is the wrong approach. The main reasons are:
Some other trans organisations have a similar approach, while the leading campaign organisation Press for Change (www.pfc.org.uk) has a slightly nuanced view, recommending monitoring only when strict preconditions were complied with (of the kind identified at the start of this section), never to be used with recruitment, and never to be used if there is any risk whatsoever of individuals being identified.
Given the small size of the trans population overall, there is a severe risk that trans workers might refuse to respond to monitoring, thereby producing a zero return and giving the employer an excuse to do nothing.
These reasons should not however be used to permit the employer to ignore the value of identifying the views of trans employees. a:gender itself organises the 'Trans equality Index' across the civil service, a questionnaire that serves the purpose of measuring progress towards trans equality.
As with sexual orientation, one of the key issues for trans workers is bullying and harassment, and there is no disagreement that this might be included in a list of grounds identifying (anonymously) the basis on which such behaviour has occurred.
Organisations of trans people can be consulted as representatives or spokespeople for the rest of the community, and trans members of union LGB&T structures can be asked as well for their views on how best to proceed.
In the event of disagreement, the union should give due weight to the views of its own trans members.
This guidance has now covered the legal rights that LGB&T workers have, and how unions should use these rights as the basis for negotiating decent and effective policies, and practices, in a workplace. Throughout, it has been stressed that, in most cases, the main problem faced by LGB&T workers is prejudice. Employers, managers and fellow workers are all equally capable of exhibiting prejudiced attitudes, and these do not even have to take on particularly outspoken or flagrant forms in order to make a workplace extremely uncomfortable for anyone who is LGB&T, or who thinks they might be - recognition of one's sexuality can take place at any time in one's life. For LGB&T people, the biggest decision many will take is that to 'come out' as LGB or T. With the improved social position and effect of growing and more visible LGB&T communities, increasing numbers of people are 'out' and will announce their orientation or gender identity without hesitation. Being 'out' makes it possible to challenge prejudiced assumptions, to tackle head-on any offensive behaviour, and to be willing to use an organisation's policies to progress any grievances (etc.).
However, 'coming out' for many people remains a challenge, and for many people, who can easily 'pass as straight', it can be a painful and difficult decision, based on previous bad experiences, or fearing a hostile response from friends and colleagues. It is also a repeated experience, every time one changes job or address, to come out again to a new group of people. The evidence of the 2010 General Household Survey, of many monitoring exercises and common experience all suggest that many LGB people are not out in their workplace. That is why it is so important that it can be seen that a workplace is LGB&T-friendly. The union's role is to help promote a LGB&T-friendly environment in the workplace through the policies and practices suggested here.
Everyone is familiar with the common stereotypes of LGB and T people that are often encouraged in the media. As a result, people still say such things as 'she doesn't look like a lesbian to me.' The assumptions behind such comments make it very difficult for anyone who is LGB or T and not yet 'out' either to come out themselves, or to challenge the maker of the remark.
The reality is, of course, entirely different. LGB&T people are of all ages, shapes and sizes. They are of all races, ethnic origin, religions (or none), and as likely as anyone to have mental or physical impairments. Many (especially those who are older) will be married, with families. The only thing they will have in common with another LGB&T person is their sexuality or gender identity.
What this means for union representatives is that is important to challenge such misconceptions when they are heard. A firm stand against prejudice is the best way to tackle it, and will also have the important side effect of giving confidence to any LGB&T members who are not yet 'out' that the union will stand up for them if necessary.
This guide has already explained that trans people are distinct from LGB people and have different issues. The Equality Act deals with the distinct issues as well as those that all protected groups have in common (see section 3). But there are also important distinctions between lesbian, gay and bisexual people, which are not reflected in the blanket legal category of 'sexual orientation', and which are all too often overlooked. Union reps need to understand that these differences are real.
The most common problem is where 'LGB' gets treated as if it is actually only the 'G'. For many reasons, gay men can be the most visible (and audible) presence, and there is a risk of making invisible or drowning out the concerns of lesbians and bisexuals. For lesbians, the same issues will arise as do for all women in environments and organisations that are male-dominated. Unions must recognise and tackle anything that gives undue prominence to one section of those covered by 'LGB'.
This is no less true for bisexual people. The widespread problems faced by bisexual workers, as bisexuals, was uncovered in surveys by both the TUC and Stonewall in 2010. Particularly shocking was the finding that bisexual people faced prejudice, ignorance and harassment from lesbian and gay colleagues, as well as misunderstanding from work colleagues in general. The chief problem inside unions was invisibility of people as bisexual and assumptions about their sexuality.
The solution is simply to allow space for each of the component parts of LGB&T to have its voice, so that particular issues for one group are not lost.
For the union, appreciating the diversity of the LGB&T communities means that LGB&T issues should not be compartmentalised to the point of overlooking the overlap with other equality issues. LGB&T equality policies should be specific, where they need to be, as explained in this guidance. But they should also be mainstreamed, insofar as all the organisation's policies may have an impact on LGB&T people. There may be for example specific lesbian angles to policies affecting women workers, and these should not be forgotten during a consultation between the union and women members generally about particular points that need to be taken up.
Many trade unions now have networks or other structures in place for their LGB&T members. Some of these have regional or local structures as well as national groups. Sometimes, groups such as these are essential supports for someone who is not 'out', but who has started to think about changing this. They may well not feel confident talking to someone else in their workplace, or their representative, for fear of disclosure before they are ready. Becoming aware of fellow union members who are LGB&T can be a critical step in giving them the confidence to be open about themselves. But confidentiality in establishing contact may be what determines whether someone takes the step of making the initial telephone call.
Therefore where unions have LGB&T networks, contact details need to be displayed where members can see them without necessarily revealing their interest; and if approached by a member asking for such details, representatives should be able to provide the information as well as confirming the confidentiality of the enquiry, if that is requested.
In some large-scale employers, there are network groups for LGB&T (as well as for example black, women, or disabled) workers. Information about these will need to be promoted by the employer through the usual mechanisms, and unions should encourage members to become involved. These groups may provide the route whereby the employer is persuaded to organise briefings or training on LGB&T issues across the organisation, as well as providing the kind of practical support that individuals may require.
Whether or not any LGB&T network within an organisation is making the recommendation, unions should also press on the employer the benefit to all of organising training for managers and staff - not just in personnel/HR, but also line managers everywhere, as that is where the problems faced by most LGBT workers may be dealt with and, indeed, may originate.
(Information correct as at March 2011).
The TUC publishes guidance and advice for unions on all areas of equality. This guidance, and other documents, can be downloaded from the equality section of the TUC website, www.tuc.org.uk.
For problems at work visit www.worksmart.org.uk.
ACAS, the advisory, arbitration and conciliation service, has a helpline 08457 474747 (text phone users 0845 061600) and publishes a guide for employers and employees at www.acas.org.uk.
There is detailed guidance and advice on all aspects of the Equality Act and other equality issues available from the Equality and Human Rights Commission website at www.equalityhumanrights.com.
The Commission also has a helpline, on the following numbers:
Additional information on trans people's rights can be obtained from the Gender Trust, www.gendertrust.org.uk, with a helpline on 0845 231 0505. The campaign group Press for Change has a helpline on 0161 432 1915 and a website at http://transequality.co.uk.
The Gender Identity, Research and Education Society (GIRES) carries out research to support trans people's rights, its website is www.gires.org.uk.
The only organisation in the UK dedicated to supporting people facing DV in same sex relationships is Broken Rainbow, www.broken-rainbow.org.uk, helpline at 0300 999 5428.
Nearly every large or medium-sized trade union now has its own LGBT group or network. Each has its own way of advertising it, so check the website or journal, or call head office and speak to the equal rights department.
The Civil Partnership (Contracted-out Occupational and Appropriate Person Pension Schemes)(Surviving Civil Partners) Order 2005.
Briefing document (11,900 words) issued 30 Mar 2011
This page http://www.tuc.org.uk/equality/tuc-19413-f0.cfm
printed 24 May 2013 at 14:42 hrs by 184.108.40.206