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Gender Identity in the Workplace

Published December 25, 2021 (last updated March 1, 2022) -
employee in workplace with gender identity respect

Australia was the pioneer country to introduce laws to protect non-binary persons from discrimination in 2013 when amendments were made to the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and intersex status. Under this legislation, it is unlawful to treat people less favourably than another person in a similar situation because of their gender identity. This includes job advertisements, recruitment and selection, training and promotion opportunities, terms of employment and termination.

Employers are legally responsible to take all reasonable steps to prevent discrimination and harassment, including putting into place policies and procedures to create an inclusive environment. Did you know that you can also be held legally responsible for the discrimination or harassment conduct of your employees?

Everyone wants to feel valued and respected no matter what the differences between people are. Where can you start?

  • Take steps to implement inclusive language such as including the correct gender markers, the correct pronouns (he/she/they) and gender neutral pronouns like Mx instead of Mr or Ms, friends and colleagues instead of ladies and gentlemen. Ensure that these are used consistently.
  • Make sure your HR systems account for female, male and non-binary employees.
  • Investigate claims of bullying and harassment or discrimination based on gender identity.

Employsure can help you to achieve a diverse and inclusive workplace by assisting you with implementation of the relevant policies. If you think you need to make some changes to your policies, contact the Advice Line and ask for more information about how the Face2Face team can support you in implementing these changes. Our Face2Face team are also well equipped to facilitate professional and thorough investigations for any grievances lodged by employees on the basis of discrimination.

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About Employsure

Employsure is one of Australia’s largest workplace relations advisers to small- and medium-businesses, with over 30,000 clients in ANZ. We take the complexity out of workplace legislation to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

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