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Jaguar Land Rover to overhaul staff training after harassment of trans engineer
19/10/2021
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Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar Land Rover has signed an agreement with the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to improve its equality and diversity (D&I) policies and practices, with a particular focus on trans employees.

The legal agreement follows a high-profile employment tribunal ruling that found non-binary or gender-fluid individuals are protected under the Equality Act 2010.

Ms Taylor, a former engineer at the car manufacturer for almost 20 years, had previously presented as male, before coming out as gender fluid or non-binary. She now identifies as a woman.

The claimant was subjected to harassment and discrimination by her work colleagues once she started wearing mostly women’s clothes.

She was subjected to insults and abusive jokes from colleagues and experienced difficulties accessing toilet facilities or receiving managerial support.

Ms Taylor also claimed victimisation after the company later failed to permit her to retract her resignation.

The tribunal agreed the company had failed to adequately support the claimant when she made complaints. It also found Jaguar Land Rover could not demonstrate that staff were trained on or even aware of its equal opportunity policy.

The tribunal awarded aggravated damages on the basis that there had been a “wholesale failure” to deal with the harassment the employee faced.

The new EHRC agreement, signed under section 23 of the Equality Act 2006 and building upon the tribunal ruling, commits the manufacturer to overhaul its training processes.

New staff must complete mandatory e-learning modules on D&I, as well as bullying and harassment, within three months of joining Jaguar Land Rover. Supplemental training must be provided to people managers and senior leaders.

Every employer, no matter how big or small, is responsible for protecting its workforce and ensuring that staff are treated fairly and with dignity at work

The company must also conduct an annual D&I staff survey and develop an inclusion index to track progress in the organisation.

Jaguar Land Rover must also publicise its new D&I strategy internally and externally to ensure transparency and accountability, and update its guidance on transitioning at work and family policies.

The company is further required to launch inclusion councils at manufacturing sites so employees are engaged and have ownership of equality and diversity issues.

Commenting on the agreement, Marcial Boo, CEO of the EHRC, said: “Trans people face barriers in many aspects of their lives – from bullying at school to poor mental health, discrimination, and hate crime. By signing this agreement and implementing our agreed action plan, Jaguar Land Rover has made a significant commitment to prioritise the wellbeing of its staff.”

The commission said it will monitor the delivery of Jaguar Land Rover’s action plan over the next 12 months and would use its legal powers to enforce it in the event of non-compliance.

“Every employer, no matter how big or small, is responsible for protecting its workforce and ensuring that staff are treated fairly and with dignity at work,” said Jenine Gill, head of enforcement at EHRC in a recent blog post.

“This means employers must take steps to prevent harassment of workers by their colleagues. For example, having adequate policies and training in place, complaints handling process, and engaging with staff about the behaviour that is expected in the workplace.”

Dave Williams, Jaguar Land Rover’s executive director for human resources said: “We are committed to continuing to work with our leaders, employees, and employee-led diversity networks to foster an inclusive and gender-balanced culture that is representative of the society in which we live.”

Recent research from TotalJobs found one-quarter of the trans people had experienced discrimination at work from their colleagues, while a separate study by the TUC found nearly half of trans workers have experienced bullying or harassment at work.

Although the freedom to hold a “gender critical” belief is protected under UK law, this does not mean that trans people can be subjected to discrimination and harassment, a position the EHRC supported when it intervened in the landmark appeal of Forstater v CGD Europe.

The Jaguar Land Rover agreement follows similar agreements signed between the EHRC and employers, including Sainsbury’s, Highways England, the Department of Work and Pensions, and Paradigm Precision, following costly tribunal judgments.