Non-binary and gender-fluid people are now protected under the Equality Act.
The Equality Act, which came into legislation in 2010, legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society on the basis of age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, race, religion, pregnancy and maternity and marriage and civil partnership.
Following years of uncertainty, a UK employment tribunal have now confirmed that non-binary and gender-fluid people are protected under the gender reassignment category.
A spokesperson for Stonewall praised the landmark ruling, telling Forbes: “This ruling is a milestone moment in recognising the rights of non-binary and gender-fluid people to be protected from discrimination under the Equality Act.
“Up until now, it’s not been clear whether non-binary people would be protected by anti-discrimination legislation, which is what makes this Employment Tribunal judgment so important.”
The historic judgement came to fruition after a non-binary engineer working in Jaguar Land Rover’s plant claimed they were harassed and discriminated against because of their gender identity.
Jaguar Land Rover tried to combat Ms Taylor’s case by arguing that they didn’t fall within the definition of gender reassignment in the Equality Act, because they identify as non-binary.
Despite their efforts, a tribunal ruled in favour of Ms Taylor’s claims of harassment, directed discrimination, victimisation and constructive dismissal, saying it’s “clear that gender is a spectrum,” and that is “beyond any doubt” that the claimant’s identity should be protected.
Ms Taylor’s representation, Robin Moria White of Old Square Chambers, called it an “important judgement, albeit at first instance, recognising for the first time the rights of a small number of individuals with complex gender identities.”
“Once again, the courts have shown themselves willing to stand up for the rights of individuals in a manner which demands respect and admiration,” she said. “I pay tribute to my brave client.
“I see no reason why this ruling should not extend to other complex gender identities such as agender and genderqueer.”
Dr S Chelvan, a specialist in LGBTQ+ law, said recognition for non-binary and gender-fluid identities under the Equality Act marks a “coming of age” for LGBTQ+ law in the UK.
“What makes us human is our differences,” he said. “What makes us a free society, is our ability to celebrate and protect our right to be different, across the human spectrum.”