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EHRC Publishes New Guidance for Service Providers

On 4 April 2022, the EHRC published guidance for service providers operating a separate or single-sex service and their approach to trans people’s use of the service. The Equality Act 2010 applies equally to travel companies in the provision of goods and services as it does in the travel workplace. As the regulator for the Equality Act, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) provide guidance on the law to help organisations comply with their legal obligations. 

EHRC issued new guidance for service providers.

It is worth reading the guidance, which provides advice on the Equality Act 2010 gender reassignment provisions; these allow such service providers to exclude, modify or limit access to trans people where this is justified as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. The guidance advises service providers to take the following into account when deciding on the approach to be taken;

  • All individuals should be treated with dignity and respect.
  • Trans people may need to access services relating to their biological sex.
  • It may be helpful to have a policy on how services are provided to trans people. However, service providers who do have a policy should be prepared to consider whether particular circumstances justify departing from it.
  • The rights and needs of trans people should be balanced against the rights and needs of others who use or may wish to use the service.
  • The reasons and evidence for reaching a decision should be documented. Where a decision is taken to depart from the general policy in a specific case, this should also be recorded.

When considering limiting or excluding access to trans people, for example where guests on a trip have to share rooms, it may be permissible to operate a single- sex service approach, if it can be justified – possibly on the grounds privacy, decency etc.
However the guidance recommends that service providers answer specific questions in reaching its decision;

  • including the reasons for modifying or limiting access;
  • whether modifying or limiting access would actually help the service provider achieve their stated aim, and;
  • whether the reason for modifying or limiting access outweighs any discriminatory effects.

It goes without saying that such decisions always need to be considered in a sensitive manner, avoiding making stereotypical gender assumptions, seeking to identify solutions which minimise discriminatory effects, ensuring staff are trained on any policies implemented, and being able to communicate and explain any decision to exclude, modify or limit access to the service to trans people.

If you would like further advice on how the Equality Act 2010 applies to your company please do get in touch by contacting;

ami@travlaw.co.uk

or call

0113 258 0033

This article was originally published on: 11 April 2022

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