Primark to pay over 47,000 pounds in transgender discrimination ruling

London - Primark has been ordered by the Employment Tribunal to pay close to 50,000 pounds in compensation to a former employee who faced harassment and was constructively dismissed for being transgender.

Former Primark retail assistant Alexandra de Souza E Souza received 47,433 pounds after Primark failed to properly investigate the matter and deal with it appropriately. The tribunal ruled that Primark failed to have the “proper systems from the outset to preserve confidentiality for transgender employees,” and awarded her 47,433 pounds in compensation to cover the loss of pay, pension contributions and injury to feelings.

Alexandra de Souza E Souza previously worked at Primark’s Oxford Street west store. In August 2016, de Souza E Souza revealed to the company that she was transgender and would prefer to be referred to as Alexandra. Although the retailer told her she could use her preferred name on her name badge, the HR department entered her named as Alexander into the company’s IT system and her title as Mr, which was subsequently printed on her name tag and daily allocation sheets.

Other store members and supervisors reportedly harassed her in store, calling her ‘a joke’ and spraying her with men’s cologne. Although de Souza E Souza complained to Primark of her treatment at work, the value retailer failed to take her complainants seriously and she subsequently resigned. The tribunal judge ruled this as constructive dismissal, due to Primark’s failure to take action. In addition to paying de Souza E Souza compensation, Primark has to adopt a written policy on how to deal with new or existing employees who are transgender or who wish to undergo gender reassignment.

In a statement on the ruling Primark said: “Primark is an equal opportunities employer and we do not tolerate discrimination of any kind, against any person, on any grounds. All policies relating to our people are based on fair treatment for all, to ensure the promotion and practice of equality of opportunity. We are extremely disappointed that on this occasion our usual high standards in implementing these policies were not met and we sincerely apologise to the employee in question for this.”

Photo: by Alan Slanton, via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

 
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