A transgender woman has won a case of direct and indirect discrimination against Ferries company Condor after one of its employees advised her to “use the disabled loos”.
Jersey based Condor Ferries was urged to remove the words ‘Ladies’ and ‘Gents’ from its toilets, and update its equality and diversity policy and employee assistance program, to bring them in line with the Islands’ gender discrimination laws, which were introduced in 2015.
The complaint was first lodged in November 2015, when Erin Bisson, a taxi driver based in Jersey, called the company to ask which toilets she should use. The claimant said that the Condor employee’s advice to use the disabled toilets amounted to direct discrimination, while the use of words rather than symbols on toilets amounted to indirect discrimination.
The tribunal agreed that both counts of indirect and direct discrimination were “well founded” and the company admitted to a “non-intentional and non-malicious act of discrimination”
“The tribunal will not consider a lack of employee awareness an acceptable explanation for any discriminatory conduct.”
Leáh Smith, Employment Law Specialist at The HR Company, said there were lessons to be learned across Ireland also, and that the case from the Channel Islands was “another step towards best employment practice and true inclusion for trans colleagues”.
“Employers should certainly be checking their signage and moving towards symbols rather than words, which may help reduce any potential equality and discrimination cases” she advised. “It is equally important for businesses to develop a culture where all staff feel confident to respond appropriately to simple questions, such as those in this instance.”
For further information on this case and for more details on steps that your company can take toward becoming transgender friendly, please contact us today.