According to The U.S. Transgender Survey, there are currently 1.4 million transgender American adults, and of this population, 33% wish to not be assigned to either the female or male gender and consider themselves gender-nonbinary.
Although this class is not officially recognized and protected under Title VII at the federal level, states have taken action to accommodate and protect this group. Oregon became the first state that offered residents that option to identify as “X” rather than male or female on their driver’s licenses in 2017. Since then, 15 other states have followed suit and now allow a third option for individuals that wish to not identify as male or female.
The number of gender-nonbinary individuals is only expected to increase which means that HR departments will need to have a plan in place on how to embrace diversity and encourage inclusion while also maintaining compliance. Here are three ways to help with doing so:
1. Review Employee Handbook
One way to make sure that your people feel included is to simply review the employee handbook, including anti-harassment policies and dress code policies. Anti-harassment policies should protect all employees and dress codes should be more gender-neutral. Not separating male vs. female wardrobes encourages your people to have an open mind and empowers your people to choose whatever outfit best aligns with how they see themselves.
2. Update Employee Applications and Internal Forms
It’s great to promote diversity at your organization and there’s no better way to make a great first impression then on your organization’s career page. Ensure that when individuals are applying for open positions that your Applicant Tracking System (ATS) has a third option for those that wish to not chose a gender. Look beyond the recruiting phase and make sure that your HR and Payroll solution, includes a gender-nonbinary option as well.
3. EEO-1 Reporting
Organizations with over 100 employees are required to file the EEO-1 form every year with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and will have to disclose specific information about its workforce like race and gender. As of now, this form does not have a third option for gender-nonbinary which can make it challenging for HR departments, especially in the scenario if an employee does not wish to self-identify as a male or female. Organizations will still be required to account for this individual and will be expected to report in good faith and make the election based off of visual representation.
HR departments that have the mission to develop its people and grow must remember that growing as an organization means growing together, with everyone.