July 01, 2002

UK transsexual triumphs in sex discrimination claim

Alrighty! A transsexual factory worker is to receive 22,000 compensation in settlement of a sex discrimination claim after being sacked from her job.

Clare Steen, who worked on the factory production line at Structural Polymer Systems on the Isle of Wight, claimed she was given work in an all-male team and directed towards the male changing rooms.

Steen also maintained she suffered taunts about her transsexuality and was treated abusively by her team leader.

An appraisal made in May 2001 stated she had 'the right attitude' and 'fitted in well' with her team. However, two months later she was fired from her job.

Her employers said this was due to "unfounded allegations against other employees, and an unwillingness to play a full part in the team".

Steen's sacking came shortly after raising concerns about her treatment with her managing director and head of human resources.

Julie Mellor, chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), who backed the claim, said: "If an employer fails to handle complaints of harassment of any kind properly, there is a real risk that they will end up losing valued members of staff with the skills their business needs.

"Having a proper grievance procedure in place means people know that any complaint will be taken seriously and that they won't be victimised because of their complaint. Employers need to cultivate a working environment in which all employees understand that harassment of any kind will not be tolerated."

Discrimination against transsexuals in the workplace became unlawful under amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act in 1999.

Copyright BusinessEurope.com 2002 Dated: 26 June 2002

Posted by .M. at July 1, 2002 03:17 PM


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