A gender-fluid/non-binary engineer who suffered abuse and harassment at Jaguar Land Rover has won a landmark discrimination case.
Rose Taylor, who worked at the Midlands car manufacturer and changed the way she presented in 2017, has won what is believed to be the first claim of its kind.
Until now, there was uncertainty over whether Equality Act protections covered those who who fell into the category of gender fluid/non-binary.
Although the case, heard at an employment tribunal, does not technically establish a legal precedent, it is bound to be influential in similar claims.
The ruling was delivered by Employment Judge Hughes at a Birmingham tribunal earlier this week. A further hearing next month will establish what damages Taylor should be awarded.
After Taylor, who had been an engineer with Jaguar Land Rover for more than 20 years, began wearing – usually – women’s clothes, she suffered insults and abusive jokes. She said she did not receive support from the management and won her constructive dismissal claim.
Part of the argument was whether being gender fluid/non-binary was a protected characteristic under section 7 of the 2010 Equality Act. The protected characteristics covered in the act are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
The judge ruled that it was “clear … that gender is a spectrum” and that it was “beyond any doubt” Taylor was protected. The judge said gender reassignment “concerns a personal journey and moving a gender identity away from birth sex”.
Taylor, who prefers to use the female pronoun, is now working as an engineer with another firm.
Her barrister, Robin Moira White, of Old Square Chambers, who has transitioned from male to female, said: “This is an important judgment, 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. I pay tribute to my brave client … I see no reason why this ruling should not extend to other complex gender identities such as a-gender and genderqueer.”
White added: “I’m aware of other cases where non-binary/gender fluid individuals have suffered disadvantage in the workplace.”
A Jaguar Land Rover spokesperson told Forbes magazine: “On behalf of Jaguar Land Rover, I would like to apologise to Ms Taylor for the experiences she had during her employment with us. We continue to strive to improve in this area and we respect the outcome of the case.
“Jaguar Land Rover does not tolerate discrimination of any kind. We are committed to creating an environment where everyone can flourish, where our employees feel listened to, understood, supported and valued equally.”