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This is not legal advice, which can only be given by an attorney admitted to practice law in your jurisdiction after hearing all of the facts and circumstances in a particular case.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Issue: Gender Transition Policy

Adding "gender identity" to an employer's policy shows diversity leadership, but without a policy to manage workplace issues, it can cause problems for employer and employees. This is particularly true in large companies, where the company president isn't down the hall, and HR is overloaded with a million other tasks.

In order to ensure that gender transition is successful for all concerned, the policy for such an organization should include elements addressing foreseeable issues. The link above connects to a policy now in use by a Fortune 500 company that contains these elements.

1. Notification and mediation processes - to avoid actions that would violate company policy or create legal compliance issues

2. Step-by-step guidelines for accountable units - to make procedures clear and manageable

3. Designation and training of HR gender transition leaders - to provide clear, culturally competent leadership in accord with organizational policy

4. Clear facilities usage criteria - to spell out specific policy for access to bathrooms, locker rooms and shower rooms, but flexible enough to address varied situations

5. Communication sessions - for frequent workplace contacts to manage expectations and organizational norms of behavior

I'll be discussing these issues at a conference for managers in June: Talking Gender, Contemporary Issues and Best Workplace Practices, June 1-3, Boston.

If you're new to this blog, you might want to see my first post, which explains what you can find here.

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