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The Best Way to Address a Transgender Employee with Co-workers

transgender employeeWhat do you do when one of your employees discloses that they are transgender and would like to be addressed as female? What is the best way to approach this matter with her co-workers?


It is best to affirm the employee’s right to express her gender freely and with absolutely no discrimination. This includes using the new proper name, if she’s chosen one.


The steps and timing of transitioning will likely vary, so the proper way to inform everyone at your organization that they should address this employee as a female will also vary. It is best to consult with the employee on what specific information she would like shared with her co-workers. In addition, you should also ask her whether she’d like her email and other company profiles updated. Be sure not to ask her for unnecessary details, but allow her to share what she wants. You can change her name on non-legal documents if she requests it, but you won’t be able to change legal documents (e.g., form I-9) unless she legally changes her name.


Because transgender individuals are often the victims of workplace harassment,It is extremely important to stress your dedication to equal employment and related protections. You may want to remind employees about the forbiddance of harassment, relevant company policies, equal employment opportunity, and the expected behavior of all colleagues.


In regards to restroom use, all transgender employees should be allowed to choose the most comfortable and safest option for themselves. Medical or legal documentation of an employee’s gender identity, such as proof of surgeries, should not be required. Don’t forget that not all transgender people have a medical transition. Remind all co-workers that have personal concerns that they are invited to have an honest and discreet discussion with management or an HR representative.


Implementing fair and equal treatment will help make transgender employees feel valued as a person and employee as well as build trust in your organization.