I’m transgender or non-binary. What are my rights at work?

3. Think about talking to your employer

Speaking to your employer about these issues can feel very personal and uncomfortable. You might decide that you don ‘t want to speak to them about these issues, especially if you don ‘t want to talk about your gender identify or

It is a good idea to speak to a lawyer before speaking to your employer. A lawyer can help you decide what to say and how to say it. They might be able to speak to your employer for you or help you decide what to do next if you ‘re not happy with how your employer handled your complaint. See Step 4 for more information on speaking to a lawyer.

If you do speak to your employer, take notes about your discussions. It’s best to make the notes when things happen while you still remember them well.

And keep copies of any written communications with your employer, like emails, letters, and text messages. Your employer cannot threaten or punish you for talking about your human rights.

You can also ask a support person, such as a co-worker, to come with you when you talk to your employer. That person can be a witness to what happened or what was said.

Ask for accommodation

Depending on the situation, your employer might not know that they are discriminating against you. They might not know that the policy they have in place is discriminatory or that it is not okay to treat you differently because of your or gender expression.

To ask for , you can write a letter to your employer or human resources department. Your letter can include:

  • details about the policy or action you feel is against your human rights
  • details about how the issues you’re raising are connected to your gender identity or gender expression
  • the Ontario Human Rights Commission policy statement  on gender identity and gender expression 
  • details on the accommodation you’re requesting

You have to co-operate with your employer to find a solution that works for both of you. The accommodation you get might not be the same as what you asked for.

And, your employer might not have to you in the way you asked for if they can prove that the accommodation will cause them . An employer must have evidence of undue hardship.

For example, an employer can’t assume that allowing people to choose their washroom based on the gender they identify with will be a safety concern. To show undue hardship, the employer would have to show evidence that making this change posed an actual risk.

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