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Gender fluid engineer wins a landmark case against abuse and harassment at Jaguar Land Rover

Anirudh Bhat

21st September 2020

Jaguar Land Rover. (Source: Shutterstock)

Rose Taylor, an employee who worked at the Midland car manufacturer and changed the way she presented herself in 2017, won, what is believed to be the first claim of its kind against the Jaguar Land rover (JLR) in the United Kingdom. Until now, there has been uncertainty as to whether the Equal Act protects those who fall into the gender fluid / non-binary category.

The case does not set a legal precedent but is bound to have an influence on similar claims, although it was heard in the Employment Tribunal. Taylor made allegations against the organization, alleging that they had been exploiting her. The JLR employee has successfully argued that she has been harassed and has been a victim of discrimination because of her reassignment of sex. In a statement, as reported by BBC, JLR apologised to Ms. Taylor for her work experience and said that they have continued her efforts to improve the situation in this area.

Taylor had worked at the company for almost 20 years as an engineer and had previously presented herself as a male employee, according to her lawyer, Robin White. Taylor began to identify as a gender fluid in 2017. The LGBT employee then usually dressed in women’s clothing and was subsequently subjected to insults from colleagues and abusive jokes at work, White said. Taylor also had difficulties using toilet facilities and obtaining management support, the lawyer added.

The worker brought claims of harassment, direct discrimination and victimisation on the grounds of gender reassignment to the Birmingham Employment Tribunal. JLR argued that, because Taylor was a gender fluid / non-binary individual, she did not fall into the definition of gender reassignment under section 7 of the Equality Act 2010.

In its judgement earlier this week, however, the court found that the claimant “had the protected feature of the reassignment of sex” and found that JLR ‘s argument to the contrary, was “totally without merit.”

Employment Judge Hughes said “After hearing the submissions on this point, the Employment Tribunal considers that it is appropriate to grant aggravated damages in this case because of the apprehensive treatment of the claimant and the insensitive stance taken by the respondent in the defence of those proceedings”, according to a report by The Guardian. “We are also encouraged to consider making recommendations with a view to alleviating the injury suffered by the claimant by ensuring that the respondent takes positive steps to prevent this situation from recurring”, Hughes added.

It is believed that the decision of the Birmingham Employment Tribunal will allow people who identify themselves as having a gender ‘spectrum’ rather than an established gender identity, such as non-binary people, to seek redress under the Equality Act. A hearing to consider how much compensation Taylor will be granted has been scheduled for next month.

Sources: The Guardian, BBC

Edited by Varun Paleli Vasudevan

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