Gender reassignment

The protected characteristic of gender reassignment is defined as where a person has proposed, started or completed a process to change his or her sex. A transsexual person has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment; a person is no longer required to be under medical supervision to be protected.  The Act covers direct and indirect discrimination and harassment because of gender reassignment – whether it is perceived, actual or associated. 


A saleswoman informs her employer that she intends to spend the rest of her life living as a man. As a result of this, she is demoted to a role without client contact. The employer increases her salary to make up for the loss of job status. Despite the increase in pay, the demotion will constitute less favourable treatment because of gender reassignment.


A masculine-looking woman applies for a job as a sales representative. The sales manager thinks that she is transsexual because of her appearance and does not offer her the job, even though she performed the best at interview. The woman would have a claim for direct discrimination because of perceived gender reassignment, even though she is not in fact transsexual.

It is discrimination against transsexual people to treat them less favourably for being absent from work because they propose to undergo, are undergoing or have undergone gender reassignment than they would be treated if they were absent because they were ill or injured.


A female to male transsexual person takes time off work to receive hormone treatment as part of his gender reassignment. His employer cannot discriminate against him because of his absence from work for this purpose.

The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Team (email: or tel: 0117 33 18087) can provide specific advice to colleagues on this area of equality, as it applies to staff and students.