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The role of a union rep in tackling transphobia

Unions their reps and members have an essential role to play in fighting all forms of discrimination including transphobia.

The trans community has seen positive changes in recent years. However, our research found there is more to do to combat workplace transphobia with almost half of trans people reporting being bullied or harassed at work.

Unions, reps and members have an essential role to play in fighting all forms of discrimination including transphobia.

Workplace representatives are key in supporting a trans member before, during and after they transition but also have a key role in making sure workplace policies are trans inclusive and do not put trans people at a disadvantage throughout recruitment, retention and promotion.

As with all union best practice it is best to negotiate policies on trans inclusions and equality before any issues arise. Here are the TUC’s top tips for trans inclusion and bargaining-

  • Review current equal opportunities and bullying and harassment policies to make sure that they promote trans equality
  • Check other policies and procedures – such as recruitment policies, record keeping and dress codes – to make sure that they do not discriminate against trans people.
  • Encourage employers to include trans issues in induction training
  • Make it clear that anti-trans behaviour or comments are unacceptable in the workplace
  • Negotiate specific policies to support employees who transition
  • Support trans members experiencing problems at work, especially during transition
  • Ensure there are robust systems in place to ensure a person’s trans status is kept confidential and swiftly update all personal records should they change their gender. (Records referring to a person’s previous identity should be destroyed unless here is a very good reason for keeping them.)

Further information

Together we can make a real difference to trans people’s experiences at work and help ensure workplaces provide a safe and welcoming environment for everyone.  Take a look at the guides below for further information.

Supporting non-binary workers - interactive guide

Explore the ways reps can support non-binary workers in your workplace in this interactive guide.

Interactive guide

Transforming the Workplace

A TUC guide for trade union activists. Information about the law, role of the employers, good practice and more. 

Download guide (pdf)

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