The rights of transgender Americans have never been so hotly debated. Whether in the military, in schools, in athletics or in the workplace, ending transgender discrimination has become one of the civil rights causes of this decade. And with a new estimate out last week that there are 1.4 million transgender Americans – double previous figures – it’s an issue that touches every community in the country.
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Now an experienced transgender awareness trainer is teaming up with education marketplace ZipMart to launch a first-of-its-kind, HR Certification Institute-approved course to help businesses create a truly inclusive workplace – and understand their responsibility and liability under the law. The course is featured on ZipMart.com as well as available for licensing. With 90% of transgender men and women still experiencing harassment at work, workplace discrimination impacts businesses of every size in every industry.
“The simple truth is that in many organizations, most colleagues and managers don’t understand the issues, don’t know how to manage an employee transition or even which pronouns to use,” said trainer Carolyn Weiss, who herself transitioned after a year-long conversation with management while working at the City of Los Angeles. “This course is designed to change all that. It will lower the risk for businesses while preventing discrimination against men and women who truly need their colleagues’ support.”
It’s become critical that all businesses understand what to do if an employee wishes to transition or come out on the job; how to be welcoming to transgender customers; how to create a strong company policy; and most importantly comply with the state and federal laws, which offer stringent protections including allowing trans employees to use a bathroom that corresponds with their gender. Even the Pentagon acknowledged the issue’s importance when it lifted its ban last week on transgender people serving openly in the military.
The hour-long course, “Transgender Awareness: Intro to Best Practices,” is designed for all employees from CEO on down. It helps organizations gain a better understanding of what it means to be a transgender person and offers guidelines for creating an inclusive work environment to support transgender colleagues. The course covers important terminology and legal protections, answers common questions related to gender identity and expression, and identifies respectful approaches to addressing transgender issues and preventing discriminatory behaviour.
“In today’s business environment, fostering an inclusive, supportive, work environment for transgender people is no longer optional,” said Oleg Shvarts, CEO of ZipMart. “We partnered with Carolyn to create a powerful tool to help businesses create an inclusive environment for all. The course will help any business give much-needed support to employees while protecting the bottom line.”
In the coming months ZipMart plans to introduce additional transgender training courses focusing on issues in specific industries including healthcare, higher education and security. The first course has been approved by the HR Certification Institute for 1 Continuing Education Credit.