Trans woman who was deadnamed wins £25k award

In a case that has highlighted HR’s failure to upgrade their policies, a trans woman who was deadnamed by her employer has been awarded £25,400. She successfully claimed direct discrimination on grounds of gender reassignment.


Deadnaming refers to a practice of continuing to use a person’s pre-transition name rather than using any new name selected by the person.


The claimant, referred to as Miss AB in the anonymised judgement, stated that she had been deadnamed by the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames when they failed to update her personal records after her transition to a woman.


Once she was sure of her intention to transition, the claimant gave eight months’ notice to the council where she was working in the traffic department. This was from July 2020. 


Despite all her efforts to change her name on door pass, staff directory and pension records, it was two years before these issues were resolved. 


AB told the tribunal that during this time she had received no support and she felt that the council had failed in its duty of care towards her.


When the claimant raised concerns over street lighting plans that she considered unsafe, a dispute had taken place between her and her managers. with her bosses accusing her of ‘throwing a hissy fit.’ She was also referred to in emails in a way that the tribunal agreed was derogatory and unprofessional.


The claimant accused her managers of singling her out when they implied that she was not doing her job correctly and was incompetent. AB felt she had been the object of a witch hunt. 


In an email she stated that if they wished her to resign it would be on grounds of constructive dismissal and secondary dismissal. She stated that she would not be treated in a demeaning way, and neither would she be bullied. 


On hearing that her male manager had demanded an apology from her, the tribunal ruled that officials had a ‘dismissive attitude towards her and had disregarded her concerns.’ AB told the tribunal that after her transitioning in 2020, it had been a long and painful struggle.


The tribunal heard how AB had found a post-it note stuck to her locker. It had her dead name crossed out and her post transition name written for everyone to see. This incident was not rectified until 2022 and no investigation had taken place to see who had done it.


The tribunal ruled that AB’s deadnaming was less than favourable treatment, and she was awarded £25.400 in compensation.


Evidence was also brought by Ms Bailey, senior HR partner. She accepted that the council had not handled the transition well. The Sex Discrimination Act provides protection against discrimination on various grounds, and this includes anyone who plans to undergo, is in the process of undergoing or has undergone gender reassignment.

The policy goes on to specify that any harassment of an individual on the grounds of gender reassignment is to be treated as sexual harassment.

Chief executive of Kingston Council, Sarah Ireland apologised for the shortcomings and for the distress they had caused to AB. 

While they had taken actions to keep the workplace free from discrimination, more needed to be done to ensure that all staff were given the support they need. This included ensuring that all managers have knowledge and understanding regarding the support needed for staff.

Ms Ireland stressed that the council had improved their processes and systems so that they could better support officers from all communities. They had also reviewed the dignity at work policy, making it easier for employees to report any discrimination incidents.

Employment judge McLaren stated that the tribunal had found the councils policies and practises at the time of the claimant’s transition to have been woefully inadequate.



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