Gender Transitioning at Work Guidelines
- All staff members at the University
- Staff members who are transitioning or decide to transition during their employment
- Staff members who have supervisory responsibility for people who are transitioning
- Staff members who may be required to support a person who is transitioning, their manager or team
To provide practical information about how gender transitioning of staff members can be supported at the University. The University is committed to supporting any staff member who is transitioning.
If you are transitioning
- If you are transitioning when you commence employment with the University, or decide to transition during the term of your employment, there are a number of things to consider. We encourage you to prepare a transitioning at work plan (see below Developing a Transitioning at Work Plan)
- The University is committed to supporting any staff member who is transitioning, and support is available to work through the list of considerations below
- Most importantly think about what information you would like to share with people at work (your manager, colleagues, students, clients), when you would like to share it, and how you would like to share it. Equally, consider what information you would prefer to keep private. Disclosure should happen on your terms
- Identify if there is anything that could have an impact on your employment, such as assistance you might require, the amount of leave you might need to take
- To ensure a smooth transition we encourage you to arrange a meeting with your manager to discuss your transition at work plan. You are welcome to be accompanied by a support person, union representative, whānau member, HR or Equity representative
- In planning your transition, it may be useful to consider the different aspects of transitioning socially and medically. Transitioning in one way does not imply that you are expected to transition in the other
- Medical transitioning may require you to apply for sick leave. You are not required to give details of any treatment. Information regarding your sick leave is confidential
- You can contact Trans on Campus (See Resources below) a network of diverse staff and students for support at the University. You can access the Employee Assistance Programme which is a free and confidential counselling service to help you during the process
- The concept of gender transitioning may be new to some people and those who might need time to educate themselves. This guide contains a list of resources that might be of help to them
If a member of your team is transitioning
- If one of your staff members has disclosed that they are transitioning (or intend to transition in the future) your responsibility as their manager (and the employer’s representative) is to support their transitioning at work. This includes addressing any issues that could affect the workplace. You may be asked to assist with communication to staff, clients or students
- The concept of gender transitioning might be new to you, so please take appropriate steps to educate yourself about gender transitioning and what it means to be transgender:
i. Allow the staff member to tell you about their individual experience.
ii. Refer to the External Resources section at the end of this guide for some recommended reading
iii. Contact the Equity Office or the Trans on Campus Support Group for assistance with facilitating successful workplace transition
- The aim is to create an environment of support and respect and to prevent and/or appropriately deal with any issues. Many people have had a little or no experience with trans people. Lead by example to set the correct tone in the workplace. Be respectful, avoid making assumptions about the person, create a comfortable atmosphere, use the correct names and pronouns, and advise colleagues about using the correct names and pronouns
- The staff member is encouraged to organise a meeting with their manager (you) to discuss their transition at work plan (please see below for what a transition plan can contain). Please ensure the staff member is aware they can be accompanied by a support person, union representative, whānau member, HR or Equity representative during this meeting
- Not all trans people will transition medically, or through surgery. The immediate medical needs of a staff member who is intending to transition are most likely to be for counselling appointments or to see a medical specialist. Any leave should be treated with utmost confidentiality and the same as any other medical appointments. Staff members may use their entitled sick leave where necessary
- You should not ask the staff member to provide you with a Medical Certificate, or any other similar documentation about their transitioning, unless it is required for a Sick Leave Application
- Maintaining confidentiality is critical, so avoid disclosing your staff member’s transgender status prematurely and without permission. Be open-minded and demonstrate understanding. The transition plan will help you to determine how best to communicate the staff member’s transition to their colleagues, clients and/or students
Meeting your legal and University obligations
- The Human Rights Act 1993 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sex. This includes a prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of gender and gender transitioning. The same prohibition is also in the Employment Relations Act 2000. Discrimination applies to almost all aspects of employment including job advertising, career progression and remuneration. It also applies to unpaid workers and independent contractors
- Both employers and staff members are obliged to exercise a duty of good faith, which includes being responsive and communicative and actively dealing with any issues that affect their employment relationship
- All staff members have the right to express their gender without fear of consequences. The University expects students and staff members to display ethical behaviour at all times, to all members of its community. Breaches of ethical behaviour include discrimination on the grounds of gender transitioning and personal harassment and bullying
- Refer to the University’s Prevention of Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination Policy
- The University is committed to meeting equity outcomes. Our core values encompass a “community in which individuals are valued and respected” and “to provide a safe, inclusive and equitable … work environment”. Refer to the University of Auckland Strategic Plan 2013-2020 and the Equity Policy
Developing a transitioning at work plan
- As indicated previously in these guidelines, developing a ‘transitioning at work plan’ is a good first step in working through the process of transitioning while employed at the University. Below is a list of suggested topics that you might consider addressing in your plan
- Who is going to be informed? For example colleagues, clients, students, collaborators
- How they are going to be informed? For example by email or at a meeting. Will there be one announcement, or several?
- What information is going to be disclosed? This needs to be very clearly agreed to by the transitioning staff member
- What information is to be kept confidential? This could be to just the staff member, or just the staff member and the manager
- Who is going to make the announcement? For example the staff member, their manager, their HR representative
- When will any announcement take place and how will it be phrased? The person who is transitioning must always be consulted before an announcement is made
- How does the staff member want to manage any ongoing communication? For example, at different stages of their transition, or in relation to different work tasks/cycles (e.g. at the commencement of each semester)?
- It would be useful to document the dates or timeframes around when the staff member will:
i. assume their gender at work (e.g. be known by their new name, referred to by new pronouns, etc.).
ii. adopt a workplace dress code to match their gender.
iii. start to use facilities such as restrooms and changing rooms which match their gender.
iv. need to take time off work for medical treatments relating to their transition, if necessary, or to attend to any other matters directly associated with their transition
- University Records that will need to be updated (see below)
- Any other matters that need addressing, such as additional support required by the staff member and/or immediate team members
Updating University Records
- At the appropriate time during a staff member’s transition, they are encouraged to update relevant University records. This section provides details on how staff can have their legal names updated through the Staff Service Centre
- You can submit a request that is accompanied by a certified copy of your official name change documentation. The documentation required is detailed at Personal information
- If you are a staff member who is also currently enrolled as a student, you will need to get your name changed through the Graduation Office. Please refer to the following link for further information - How do I change my name on record?
- You can view, check and change your Title and Preferred Name at any time (and without any evidence) and indicate whether you identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex, Queer, Takatāpui + (LGBTIQTakatāpui+) by updating your personal details, on the Enterprise Person Registry
- Staff members can request to have their gender changed on their records through a request to the Staff Service Centre. Currently either Male or Female are the available options
- Changing your ID photo and information, can be done at Ask Auckland at Alfred Nathan House, otherwise a photo can be emailed to email@example.com
- It’s advised that your name change be done prior to or at the same time as changing the photo on your ID card
- To update other places such as your personal profile, university directory, email address, university webpages where your name and/or photo appears, read changing personal information
The following definitions apply to this document:
Gender can refer to one’s own internal sense of being a man or woman, or an identity other than male or female. Gender is expressed externally through clothing, behaviour, body characteristics and so on.
Gender transitioning (or transitioning) refers to steps taken by trans people to live as their gender. These steps may be social and/or medical. For example, a trans person may change their name and use pronouns that match their gender and/or dress in clothing that matches their gender. Sometimes transitioning involves undergoing medical treatment to change one’s body to match one’s gender through hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgeries (sometimes referred to as gender affirming surgeries). Transitioning is not the same as gender reassignment surgery. Not all transgender people choose to undergo a medical treatment.
Staff member refers to an individual employed by the University on a full or part-time basis.
Being transgender (or “trans”), non-binary or gender diverse, are umbrella terms for someone whose gender identity does not exclusively align with their sex assigned at birth. Or, whose gender does not fit within the male/female gender binary.
University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries.
- Trans and gender diverse students and staff are encouraged to join Trans on Campus (firstname.lastname@example.org), which is a support network, social group and advocacy group for gender diverse students and staff
- To learn more about working with transgender people and about the appropriate language to use when referring to transgender people and transitioning refer to Transgender people at the university guidelines and FAQs
- To learn about what is gender identity and things to be aware of when someone discloses that they are transitioning refer to Gender Identity by RainbowYOUTH
- For transitioning at work tips, useful definitions and an outline of employers responsibilities to staff members who are transitioning, refer to Transgender Staff members by Employment New Zealand
- For information to support ‘trans’ people including FAQs, Resources and Links to groups and networks, refer to Trans People facts & information by Human Rights Commission, New Zealand
- To learn more about ‘takatāpui’ (Māori with diverse gender identities) refer to ‘Takatāpui: Part of the Whānau by Mental Health Foundation of NZ
Contact for further information
If you need further support, information or assistance about transitioning while employed at the University of Auckland, the following staff/work units can be contacted:
The ClockTower, 22 Princes Street, Building 105, Room 126
Terry O’Neill, Director - Student Equity
Coordinator, LGBTI Network
Ph. 923 8211
Prue Toft, Director - Staff Equity
Ph. 923 8316
Cathie Walsh, Manager - Staff Equity
Ph. 923 7844
HR Divisional Managers and Advisers
Each faculty and service division of the University has a dedicated HR Manager or Adviser. Please see Who's Who in HR for details of the HR Manager or Adviser in your area.
Key relevant documents
Include the following:
Document management and control
Owner: Trudie McNaughton, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Equity
Content manager: Prue Toft, Director - Staff Equity
Date approved: June 2018
Review date: June 2021