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According to the policy, Saolta encourages a work environment where staff “can be honest and open about who they are” so that they can concentrate on putting their full energy into their job to fulfil their performance potential.
Saolta’s policy was developed in collaboration with Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) and outlines a number of terms and definitions, including ‘intersex’, ‘transvestites/cross dressers’ and ‘transgenderism’.
As regards appearance standards, it states that transgender employees are encouraged to dress consistently with their gender identity. However, Saolta has the right to ensure employees’ appearance and behaviour is in strict accordance with its dress code, uniform and footwear policy.
A transgender individual will not be required to use the bathroom of their identified sex at birth and staff members must respect this, according to the policy.
It further states that issues related to the use of toilet facilities must be handled with sensitivity. This is not only to address the needs of transgender individuals, but also to acknowledge other staff members’ emotional responses and privacy concerns regarding the sharing of toilet facilities.
“Line managers can address staff concerns by using unisex facilities, if such are available in the employee’s work area. However, it is most likely that the majority of toilet facilities will be gender-specific and must be respected as such. Transgender employees will have the same access as a non-transgender employee of the same gender.”
The Medical Independent understands that Saolta is the only Hospital Group to issue a transgender policy to date. However, a number of other Groups intend developing policies in this realm.