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Back to Your Journey Part 3: On the job

Your Journey Part 3: Your rights in the workplace 

To help you understand how the previous steps apply to your rights and responsibilities in the workplace, we’ve outlined a few key protections that might be relevant, and provided suggestions for navigating challenging situations.

Questions about your rights? Seeking legal advice? Find resources in Part Four.

You cannot be denied opportunities or advancement due to your gender identity or gender expression.

  • in the workplace: The fact that you’re trans or nonbinary can’t play a part in a decision not to give you a promotion or any other opportunity or benefit. If a decision in the workplace takes your gender identity or expression into account this may be discriminatory, unless gender identity or gender expression is related to a core requirement of the job. If a decision in the workplace takes your gender identity or expression into account this may be discriminatory, unless gender identity or gender expression is related to a core requirement of the job. Legal protections have improved conditions for trans and nonbinary applicants and employees, yet many continue to experience disproportionate levels of discrimination in the workforce.
  • what you can do: If you find yourself in this situation, check your employment contract and your employer’s policies to see if they describe how to appeal the decision or file a complaint. Seek assistance from your supervisor if possible, and if not consult with your employer’s human resources or equity office. If you are represented by a union, you may be able to file a grievance.

You have the right to reasonable accommodations in the workplace that allow you to perform your job while respecting your gender identity and gender expression.

  • in the workplace: Employers may not (initially) perceive gender identity or expression as grounds for accommodation, as these protections are relatively new, and traditionally the duty to accommodate has been applied to other grounds (e.g. disability, family status). An example of reasonable accommodation might include wearing a uniform that aligns with your gender identity and gender expression.
  • what you can do: Inform your employer or interviewer of any request related to gender identity or gender expression and work with that employer to arrive at a reasonable accommodation.

You have the right to socially and/or medically transition at any point during your employment without threat of termination.

  • in the workplace: When you transition is up to you. The reality is that wait times for medical supports (if they are sought) can be lengthy and can determine certain aspects of this timeline.
  • During your transition, you continue to have the right to be free from discrimination and harassment, and the duty to accommodate applies to aspects of your transition process that impact your work.
  • what you can do: There are many personal and practical factors you may want to consider as you plan your transition process. Some include:
    • Are you in a probationary period?
    • If you have them, have your benefits taken effect? Do you have access to medical leave if you need it?
      Are there workload issues, ongoing projects and partnerships that might inform when you request an accommodation?
    • Is there an employee assistance program, equity, diversity and/or inclusion support office or human resources representative in your organization that might be able to help support you? Advance notice can help the people you work with plan some elements of your transition at work (e.g. changing your name or pronouns), so consider communicating your request early if possible.

You have the right to answer to, and be referred to, by your correct name and gender pronouns.

  • in the workplace: Misgendering and misnaming can be common, but your employer should take your complaints about being misgendered by coworkers seriously.
  • what you can do: Where and when it’s possible, you can start by addressing the person directly to correct the mistake. Individual egregious incidents as well as ongoing issues can and should be reported to a manager or supervisor, as misgendering may be a form of discrimination or harassment.


Continue to Part 3