New Gender Identity in the Workplace policy
By Whitney Abrams, Chief People Officer
This week, as we celebrate Transgender Awareness Week, we are launching a new King County policy: Gender Identity in the Workplace: Policies for Supporting Transgender, Non-Binary and Gender Diverse Employees.
This policy sets out guidelines to address the workplace needs of transgender, non-binary, and gender diverse employees and helps us create a safe, inclusive, and productive workplace that is free of harassment and discrimination in accordance with the county’s Non-Discrimination, Anti-Harassment and Inappropriate Conduct Policy.
Our True North – Making King County a welcoming community where all people can thrive – applies just as much to the workplace culture we are building at King County as it does to our community. We all play a crucial role in Leading the Way and helping to provide a welcoming, inclusive workplace.
I encourage you to review the policy and become familiar with your role in supporting the needs of our transgender, non-binary, and gender diverse colleagues and helping us create a safe, supportive, and respectful workplace culture where every employee can thrive.
Thank you for everything you do for our residents and your colleagues, and for helping to ensure everyone feels welcome, respected, and supported at work.
Key elements of the policy
- King County employees have the right to be addressed by the name and pronoun that correspond to their gender identity, and managers and supervisors shall support their employees in the workplace by modeling and enforcing the use of the name and pronoun corresponding to each employee’s gender identity.
- The repeated and deliberate refusal to respect an employee’s gender identity (for example, deliberately referring to the employee by a name or pronoun that does not correspond to the employee’s gender identity) can constitute harassment and is a violation of the county’s Non-Discrimination, Anti-Harassment & Inappropriate Conduct Policy. If an employee is unsure what pronouns a coworker uses, it is appropriate to politely ask that coworker how they would like to be addressed.
- The County will update items used in the workplace during everyday interactions, such as email accounts, employee directories, business cards, name tags, and all similar items that do not pose legal or security implications, to ensure the employee’s name and gender expression are represented according to the employee’s gender identity.
- The photograph or name on an employee identification badge may be updated at any time to reflect the employee’s gender presentation. Fees for a new county-issued badge shall be waived in these cases.
- Transgender, non-binary, and gender diverse employees have the right to comply with county dress codes in a manner consistent with their gender identity or gender expression. Within county gender-segregated job assignments, all employees will be classified and assigned in a manner consistent with their gender identity, not their sex assigned at birth.
- Employees shall have access to the restroom and/or comfort stations corresponding to their gender identity. That is, transgender women must be permitted to use the women’s restroom, and transgender men must be permitted to use the men’s restroom. Any employee who has a need or desire for increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason, will be provided access to a gender-neutral, single-stall restroom, when available. No employee, however, shall be required to use such a restroom.
- The policy also sets out processes to support employees transitioning in the workplace, as well as processes for reporting conduct in violation of the policy.