‘Can my employer insist on me going by my birth name?’

Read on while we answer your questions

Sian Caulfield
Sian Caulfield, CSP’s national officer for equality and diversity

Deadnaming someone – or calling a person with a trans identity by their birth name when they have chosen to go by another – is not only unprofessional and harmful, but can amount to illegal workplace discrimination.  

Registered professionals do need to use the name as used on the Health and Care Professions Council register when writing notes. However, trans workers should otherwise be free to go by their preferred name and pronouns at work. This includes instances where trans workers have not legally changed their name by deed poll, and when they are working in clinical situations.

Any employers, colleagues or patients that insist on using other names or pronouns could be acting unlawfully, with this behaviour likely to be seen as harassment as defined by the 2010 Equality Act. 

In Northern Ireland, trans workers are protected from discrimination by the Sex Discrimination (NI) Order 1976, amended by the Gender Reassignment (NI) Regulations 1999.

‘Gender reassignment’ is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act. In practice this protection from harassment covers all people with a trans identity – that is anyone that has, or plans to, assume a gender identity different from that assigned at birth. They are not required to have undergone any medical procedure or provide medical notes to receive this protection.

The Equality Act also protects trans members from direct and indirect discrimination – meaning for example that employers should make sure all workers are able to use washing facilities appropriate for their chosen gender, and not subject workers to uniform policies that are likely to misgender them.

Trans workers are also protected from victimisation in the workplace, meaning that employers must not treat complainants badly if they have received a complaint about harassment or harassment against them.

If you experience or witness workplace discrimination, harassment or victimisation, contact your CSP steward, or our enquiries team on 020 7306 6666 or enquiries@csp.org.uk 

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