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Gender-fluid & Non-binary Workers Are Protected by Equality Act 2010

Posted On: [10/06/2021]

Under Section 7 of the Equality Act 2010, a person has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment if they are “proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.”

In Taylor v Jaguar Land Rover, the Employment Tribunal has found that protection of non-binary and gender-fluid people falls within the scope of gender reassignment under the Equality Act 2010.

The Facts

Rose Taylor had worked at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) as an engineer for more than 20 years. She began identifying as gender-fluid in 2017. She was subjected to insults and abusive jokes from colleagues when she began dressing in women’s clothes , had problems with using toilet facilities and no support from management. It all became too much and in 2018, Rose resigned.

In the Employment Tribunal

Rose claimed constructive dismissalharassmentdirect discrimination and victimisation on the ground of gender reassignment. JLR said that because Rose was gender-fluid / non-binary, she did not fall within the definition of gender reassignment under section 7 of the Equality Act 2010.

The Employment Tribunal disagreed with JLR and upheld Rose’s claims of harassmentdirect discrimination and victimisation. There had previously been uncertainty as to whether Section 7 of the Equality Act 2010 protected those who fell into the categories of non-binary or gender-fluid. The Tribunal noted that the question of whether a gender fluid / non-binary person fell within section 7 of the Equality Act 2010 was a new point of law. The Tribunal found that gender as a spectrum and ruled that it is beyond doubt that Rose is protected by Section 7 as undergoing a process of gender reassignment, is a personal journey by which an individual moves away from their birth sex.

Impact of this decision

This is a first instance decision and so it is not binding on other tribunals, however it is a milestone decision because it establishes the clear intention of Parliament to protect individuals with more complicated gender identities from discrimination, under the Equality Act 2010.