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Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen


“Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls” an introductory line which I am sure we have all used or heard at some point during our careers and lives. However, a recent case identified that those who consider themselves to be non-binary actually felt ostracised and ignored.




How has this all come about, recently a conductor for the London North Eastern Railway, greeted his passengers via the tannoy with the above welcome. A non-binary passenger made the complaint to senior management stating that:

“Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls…” so as a non-binary person this announcement doesn’t actually apply to me, so I won’t listen @LNER.’

The rail network issued an apology, which stated:

‘I’m really sorry to see this, Laurence, our Train Managers should not be using language like this, and I thank you for bringing it to my attention.

‘Please could you let me know which service you were on and I will ensure they remain as inclusive as we strive to be at LNER.’

This case has caused massive debate with many questioning who was right and who was wrong and simply put there is no right or wrong answer. Those who identify as non-binary are as entitled to inclusion as those who do not identify as non-binary.

It is an increasingly common problem, and despite there being an increased level of awareness, there is still wide gap in understanding the rights of gender identities and trans rights.

Education is key to normalising new gender identities. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion training is paramount for your managers and employees. At RBHR we are also abreast of the latest changes to employment law and protection under the Equality Act 2010.

An example of these changes concerns the protected characteristic of gender reassignment. Within the Equality Act 2010, additional protection exists for those employees who have fully transitioned and are in possession of a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). The key legal issues to be aware of include:

Protection against discrimination – under the equality regulation, employees and workers proposing to undergo, undergoing or who have undergone a process to reassign their sex are protected from discrimination, harassment and victimisation. There is no requirement that to be protected under the Equality Act the trans person must have undergone medical treatment relating to their gender. The case of Taylor vs Jaguar Land Rover breaks new ground and due to the judgment means that this protection is likely to extend to gender-fluid and non-binary employees.

GRC’s – once an individual has been granted a GRC, they will be issued with a birth certificate in their affirmed gender and protected through law against disclosure of information relating to their gender history. Employers should not ask employees if they have a GRC.

Give us a call on 01935 411191 or email enquiries@rbhr.co.uk where a member of our team will be able to assist you further.

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