Current Affairs Analysis



Current Affairs Analysis

Article Summary

The topic of transgender discrimination is a major legal issue affecting recruitment and selection in the workplace. In the Huffington post, Annette Ejiofor tells a story of how a trans-refugee grapples with the issue of being a transgender and refugee in the Canadian workforce. Biko Beuttah, a Kenyan-born refugee, sought asylum in Canada twelve years ago after being perceived as a criminal in her homeland. In Kenya, it is illegal to be a homosexual costing up to 14 years in prison according to BBC News report.

When Beuttah got to Canada, she had only $200 with her. After spending her first six months in a refugee shelter in Toronto, she sought employment for the next 11 years. She opens up about the challenges faced by transgender people when seeking employment admitting that the “uneducated, ignorant or transphobic” society is not willing to recruit people like them into their workplace. According to a report by the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion in 2015, 30% of LGBT Canadians reported that they experienced workplace discrimination. Consequently, a report by the Ontario Trans Pulse Project in the same year reported 13% of Trans Ontarians were fired for being Trans.

Beuttah turned to sex work a number of times to pay rent but until November 2017 when she organized a career event for transgender people. The Trans Workforce is aimed at recruiting Transgender people into the workplace: described as a career and networking event for transgender people. The idea is to mobilize against judging transgender people based on their nature but abilities and skills.

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Applicable Laws on Transgender-current Affairs Analysis

While Beuttah’s experience sounds backward and outright, in reality it is just a glimpse of the discrimination faced by many Canadians in the workplace. Present-day recruitments are subject to a number of conditions that are nothing less than discriminatory. The recruitment and selection process does not entirely focus on the applicant’s abilities, skills or knowledge, but much weight is given on their sexual orientation. This is despite the fact that Section 8 of the Canadian Human Rights Act listing sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of discrimination.

Canada made a huge step in criminalizing the discrimination of transgender people in June 2017 by passing the Bill C-16. The bill was intended to bring diversity and inclusion of everyone and also make sure that everyone was feeling safe about themselves. The bill was seen as a message of support to the Trans and non-binary community, and an acknowledgement of the discrimination and harassment they have faced, as well as empowering people of all genders and gender identities to take legal action if they experience discrimination. However, much is yet to be achieved in terms of ensuring equal status in the society and most notably, the workplace. The housing policies for transgender inmates may have to change.

Why Companies Discriminate Transgender Employees-current Affairs Analysis

But why are companies reluctant to recruit transgender individuals into their organizations despite its illegality?  There may not be a completely valid or concrete argument for discriminating transgender employees but the underlying fact is that this is a group likely to come with some challenges and a higher duty of care in terms of privacy and creating a harassment free environment. For instances, companies are always wary of these challenges and some of them may appear insensible in the face of it. For instance, toilets are becoming an increasing battleground for transgender rights. In fact, a woman in New Jersey, USA recently won a discriminatory case in which she argued the word “ladies” was indirectly discriminatory. Therefore, in a bid to avoid the disagreements that come with the use of toilets, organizations may choose not to recruit transgender employees.

An EE Plan to Ease Transgender Discrimination

In a bid to ease any form of discrimination in the workplace, organizations should adopt employment equity (EE) legislation. EE is meant to aid in the elimination of discriminatory practices that prevent the entry or retention of members from designated groups in the workplace. An EE plan is resolute and straightforward. Ideally, firms ought to employ an EE plan that takes the following items into considerations so as to avoid transgender discrimination experienced by Beuttah and any other form of discrimination:

First is ensure the senior management of the workforce is supportive of an EE plan. Then conduct a survey to determine the current representation of designated groups in the organization’s internal workforce. The situation can only be improved if it is found wanting. Thirdly, set future representations for designated groups based on the availability of qualified workers in the labor market. The 519 agency in Toronto for instance, provides inclusive space and services for LGBTQ plus people. While one should not be discriminated based on sexual orientation, it is also ideal that slots are only set aside for the qualified in other aspects including education, work experience, skills and attributes among others. Fourthly, organizations should remove systemic barriers to employment that would otherwise affect such groups. Lastly, the HR should always make necessary changes to the EE intervention so as to keep it on tabs with the demands of the dynamic society.

Recommended Transgender Discrimination Policies Companies Should Adopt-current Affairs Analysis

Organizations should have a model which explicitly defines what is gender identity, gender expression, transgender, gender non-conforming, transition, sexual orientation and LGBT. A definition of these terms will help in understanding the legal obligation set for employers as well as go a long way in ensuring the appreciation and respect of the marginalized sex groups.

In a bid to negotiate for inclusive workplaces with respect to transgender employees such as Beuttah, companies should look into adopting the following policies. First is privacy by according employees the right to discuss their gender identity or expression openly, or to keep that information private. Management, human resources staff, or coworkers should not disclose information that may reveal an employee’s transgender status or gender non-conforming presentation to others. Secondly is on official records. As for names whereby a company should change an employee’s official record to reflect a change in name or gender upon request from the employee. An employee has the right to be addressed by the name and pronoun that correspond to the employee’s gender identity, upon request. When transitioning on the job, employees who transition on the job should be accorded the support of management and human resources staff. HR should work with each transitioning employee individually to ensure a successful workplace transition. Sex-segregated job assignments, locker-room accessibility and restroom accessibility ought to be based on, classified and assigned in a manner consistent with their gender identity, not their sex assigned at birth. As for discrimination/harassments, it should be every company’s policy that it is unlawful to discriminate in any way (including, but not limited to, failure to hire, failure to promote, or unlawful termination) against an employee because of the employee’s actual or perceived gender identity. Finally, having health care benefits which cover for transition-related care.

While these recommendation policies would ideally ease transgender discrimination and legal issues emanating with that regard, most companies would find it expensive and not worthy. Especially when they can easily find a “straight” employee who will not come with increased demands in the name of privacy, transition, additional health benefits and lavatory demands. The cost of maintaining transgender employees may be high. However, this does not outdo the fact that they are capable employees who can do just as much as any other employee.