In a ruling on Monday 14th September Patrice Hughes, a Birmingham employment judge, found in favour of an engineer, R Taylor, who was “subjected to insults and abusive jokes at work” and had their access to toilet facilities restricted. Under the 2010 Equality Act people are entitled to protection from discriminatory treatment in the workplace based on nine protected characteristics including sexual orientation and gender reassignment.
The company involved, Jaguar Land Rover, claimed that the protections did not apply in this case as “gender reassignment only applies to people who transition between the binary genders of ale and female”. However, the tribunal ruled that it is clear that “gender is a spectrum” (something that the Beaumont Society has been arguing for decades) and that it is “beyond any doubt” that the protections ensured by the 2010 Act apply to people with diverse gender identity or expression.
The judge ruled that Jaguar Land Rover’s argument is “totally without merit” and that the employee faced a “continuing course of harassment” because of their gender identity, and awarded damages because of the way that Ms Taylor has been treated, and because of the insensitive stance taken by Jaguar Land Rover in defending the proceedings.
This is a landmark case which clarifies the law for us all, and we are very grateful to all those involved in making it possible.