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by Vault Careers | April 01, 2009


Whoa! The feedback about the HR Guy's transvestites in the workplace article has been overwhelming!Here are just a few thing your colleagues had to say:

"I am writing in response to your article on Transvestites and bathroom problems. It is one with which I have had experience in handling. As an HR professional with a JD, I think that my experience may help others in dealing with this situation.

A former employer of mine was owned by an openly-homosexual man, and as a result, he hired many professionals from within his own social circles to work for the company. There were 4 individuals (3 transvestites and 1 transgender) about whom I received complaints regarding their use of the ladies restroom.

I consulted with lawyers and even two psychologists in order to better understand the issues involved and to fashion a solution to our dilemma.Here is how we solved it.

We enacted a policy regarding use of the bathrooms. Biological males were required to use the men's room, and vice versa. In the case of the trans gender person, since they were under doctors' care and in a medical/psychological program to change genders, they were allowed to use the bathroom of their choice, but they had to choose one and stick to it. Since security badges were needed to unlock the bathrooms' doors, it was easy to enforce.

For three out of the four, this solved the issue. The remaining transvestite decided to sue, but the case was dismissed on its merits. As you said, transvestitism is behavior-based, and therefore was subject to the company's right and responsibility to regulate workplace behaviors, just like non-smoking areas, office hours, etc.

This is how we handled it. I hope this helps someone else."

And decisive advice on what do do... Read on!~"As an HR professional for over 10 years, I'd have to say the transgenderedsituation I encountered was one of the most interesting! And there havebeen a few doozies.

Just wanted to follow-up on your answer. Unfortunately, corporate attorneysbecame involved so the final decision for my company was that while theindividual was still a male, i.e., pre-surgery, HE should use the facilitiesfor the he's. Once surgery was completed, he would no longer be a he but aSHE so then the appropriate she facilities should be used.

What became complicated was the entire process of a he becoming a she meantthat there was some 'tween time, if you know what I mean. Nevertheless, weworked in a compassionate and caring manner with the individual and he/shewas just super. In fact, he/she gave me a manual on "TransgenderedEmployees in the Workplace" published by a transgendered attorney thatcouldn't have been a bigger help!

For more discussion on transvestite and trangender issues in the workplace, check out the EmployerVault message boards!


Filed Under: Workplace Issues