The recent well-publicized transgender celebrities, and Emmy wins for the Amazon show Transparent, have put gender identity, gender expression, transsexual and transgender issues on the social and political agenda. Most employers should already have general anti-discrimination, anti-harassment and accommodation policies recognizing protected human rights grounds. So if an employer doesn’t have a transsexual or transgender employee, how important is it to have a specific policy dealing with transsexual, transgender, gender identity and gender expression? For some employers, it may be essential.
In 2011, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in British Columbia (Workers’ Compensation Board) v Figliola. The Figliola decision addressed the issue of the relitigation by human rights tribunals of issues already addressed in other proceedings.
Many H.R. Departments pride themselves on the skill with which they can interview prospective employees in order to assess their qualifications for the position being advertised, the fit of the employee with the organization, and the likelihood that the employee will stay with the organization for a reasonable period of time. What employers are often not cognizant of is the limitation imposed on this process by the provisions of various provincial and federal Human Rights statutes.