How should an employer handle an employee who is transitioning to a new gender?

Author: Beth P. Zoller, XpertHRLegal Editor

An employer or HR professional should meet with the employee in confidence to discuss the employee's transition.

The employer should provide support and assist the employee in planning any time off that may be needed for medical surgeries or appointments, including any recovery time. The employer also may want to discuss whether the employee will stay in his or her current position or request to be relocated, as well as how supervisors, co-workers, clients and customers will be informed of the transition.

The employer should also discuss the expected date of transition, including the personal details such as what name the employee will go by, which restrooms or locker rooms will be used, changes to be made to records, and the employer's dress code and how it will be followed.

An employer should allow enough flexibility in the dress code to accommodate the employee's transition from one gender to another. All discussions should be undertaken in confidence, with the utmost sensitivity and understanding shown toward the employee.