ENG CHI

Equality・Diversity・Inclusion

Transgender people in the workplace

There is no gender recognition law in Hong Kong, and transgender persons are not protected by Hong Kong's "Sex Discrimination Ordinance", which only covers discrimination based on whether an individual is a woman or a man. Therefore, transgender employees may also encounter a lot of difficulties in the work environment:

Washroom issues

Practical situations such as the use of restrooms are common problems faced by transgender employees. For example, employers have reservations about allowing people with male physiological characteristics to use women's restrooms. They usually do not allow transgender women to use the female hand wash room, fearing that it will upset female employees; Therefore, often only transgender employees are allowed to use the disabled hand wash room, and transgender employees will feel that this arrangement is not appropriate.

Privacy issues

Most workplace manuals provided by employers do not have a specific policy to protect transgender employees, such as a policy to protect the privacy of transgender employees' gender identity status, which should be disclosed to third parties with the consent of the parties concerned.

Bullying and harassment

Employers' workplace manuals generally prohibit bullying and harassment and give examples of unacceptable behavior in the workplace. However, these examples usually do not include the various situations faced by transgender employees. For example, the intentional use of a name or substitute name that does not match the gender identity of an employee may constitute harassment.

Gender transition

Transgender employees may change their gender to an identified gender identity after onboarding. There are many different ways of gender transition, but if the employer does not handle it properly, it may lead to ridicule, harassment and bullying of the employees concerned. Employers should prescribe procedures for implementing changes in response to gender transitions, including changes in personnel records, changes in photographs on work permits and communication plans to notify colleagues and clients of the relevant messages.

Discrimination

In Hong Kong, it is not illegal to discriminate against employees on the basis of their gender identity. However, it is the responsibility of employers to provide a safe working environment for transgender and intersex employees. Discrimination, harassment or violence on the basis of gender identity will be considered a violation of the "Disability Discrimination Ordinance".