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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.

Monday, September 18, 2006

More on the Out & Equal Conference - Developing Written Guidelines

On Friday afternoon I attended a presentation chaired by GenderPAC's Riki Wilchins, with HR people from Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and IBM. The title of the presentation was "Developing Written Workplace Guidelines: Transitioning & Gender Nonconforming Employees." I thought it was extremely well done. Here's the blurb, which notes that the major problem with implementing the addition of "gender identity" to the corporate EEO policy is that developing written guidelines is "difficult and time-consuming."

"Over 120 major corporations have implemented Equal Employment Opportunity policies and workplace transition support guidelines that include gender identity and expression. The process of crafting comprehensive policies for gender nonconforming employees and written guidelines to help support workplace transitions can be difficult and time consuming, especially because transitioning and transgender employees are often a new topic for HR departments and they present very specific policy needs. Major corporations like Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and IBM have already developed such policies and guidelines. Come hear from leaders in the field about best-in-class practices and their experience implementing them, and how GenderPAC's new sample policy guidelines can help your company stay ahead of the curve."

The panelists were all excellent speakers, and gave much useful advice. For example, one recounted how to address co-workers with objections to bathroom usage prior to surgical intervention. "I ask them the last time they saw a naked person in the bathroom," he noted.

One area that could have used more coverage was the retail environment, and other non-office environments. That's a new area for everyone, so I certainly don't fault them. In fact, I thought their discussion of "reaction scripts," which detail how to address customer reactions, was particularly applicable.

If you're interested in seeing GenderPAC's written guidelines, they can be found at http://www.gpac.org/workplace/WorkplaceFairness.pdf

I have also developed written guidelines, which can be found at http://phobos.ramapo.edu/~jweiss/policy.htm

Both sets of guidelines offer advantages and disadvantages. Mine are more comprehensive, which I think is important for those whose task it is to actually write the guidelines for a specific environment. It requires less reinventing the wheel, and one can simply discard those portions that are too voluminous or inapplicable to a particular situation.

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