The specific change in the law made by Equality Act 2010 in relation to transsexual people is short and easy to state. The new wording means that the person concerned need not be under medical supervision to be able to sue for unlawful discrimination. This is a change from previous law, although the substance of previous law making it unlawful in the employment field to discriminate against a person because of gender reassignment or transsexuality remains unchanged.
It is worth noting here that there are two exceptions from the rules making discrimination against transsexuals unlawful in the employment field. The first is where the employment (which includes appointment to a personal or public office) is for the purposes of an organised religion and a requirement that the employee should not be a transsexual person “engages the compliance or non-conflict principle” (what this means is that restricting the particular employment to a non-transsexual person is required either “so as to comply with the doctrines of the religion” or “so as to avoid conflicting with the strongly held religious convictions of a significant number of the religion’s followers”). The second is where discrimination against a transsexual person would be “a proportionate means of ensuring the combat effectiveness of the armed forces”.
This is an item from our October 2010 newsletter. If you are interested in subscribing to our monthly newsletter please click here.