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Taking Pride in becoming a progressive, inclusive employer

Date published: 29 June 2023


SEPA's new Transgender Equality Policy is the latest in a range of progressive people policies to create a modern and inclusive workplace reflective of the nation it serves.

This Pride month, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) are delighted to launch their Transgender Equality Policy.

A joint partnership between SEPA and Unison colleagues, the policy aims to provide clarity around transgender equality in the workplace, including guidance on terminology, facilities, processes and procedures relevant to transgender and non-binary colleagues.

This is the latest in a range of progressive people policies SEPA are implementing to create a modern and inclusive workplace reflective of the nation it serves. Unison and SEPA colleagues also recently launched a Menopause and Periods Policy, and colleagues are now working on a policy around Gender-Based Violence.

SEPA’s People and Property Acting Chief Officer, Jennifer Russell said:

“Whilst SEPA operates across Scotland - from the Borders to the Western Isles - we know we deliver better when we're representative of the diverse range of Scots who make up our country.

“As an inclusive employer, SEPA are committed to supporting each individual in their decisions, and we want to ensure that all trans staff are well supported and respected, including those who intend to, or are in the process of, transition.

“Our aim with the Transgender Equality Policy is to show support for individuals as well as providing information for colleagues who can help us promote equality, diversity and good relations in everything we do.”

Former SEPA Unison LGBT+ Members Officer, Fiona Gentle-Galbraith, said:

“This policy is about supporting people, embracing transgender equality and being an inclusive and progressive employer.

“SEPA is a leader in this space as many organisations don’t have policies like this - it shows real, positive action to support our LGBT+ members of staff, and the fact it has launched during Pride month is fantastic.”

Florence Oulds, Policy & Public Affairs Officer at Scottish Trans, said:

“The SEPA Transgender Equality Policy sets out plainly the rights and support available to trans employees at SEPA, and will be a helpful resource for trans people within SEPA as well as managers or colleagues who support them.

“Clear policy around transitioning at work is incredibly important for trans employees, as this can often be a stressful and confusing process. If they are the first person to do so at their place of work, and if there are no protocols in place, it can be very difficult and burdensome.”

Scottish Trades Union Congress General Secretary Roz Foyer said:

“Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect at work. For too long, transgender workers have found it difficult to transition while in employment, with some choosing to keep their trans status secret.

“We are delighted to see that SEPA, alongside their union Unison, have launched their Transgender Equality Policy.

“We have every confidence that this policy will practically help transgender workers through their transition and beyond.”

Notes to editors

Policy Aims

  • To ensure all transgender staff are well supported and respected, this includes those who intend to or are in the process of transition. As such, the transition process will be led by the individual concerned. As an inclusive employer SEPA are committed to supporting each individual in their decisions
  • Providing support by recognising the needs of individuals in relation to their gender and giving them a supportive environment if they wish their transgender or gender non-conforming status to be known
  • If an employee is supporting a family member who is transitioning, they can take time off to attend appointments and treatment or give assistance after in line with our Time off for Personal Matters policy
  • Support for trans staff and staff supporting family members who are transitioning can be provided through line management, HR, and Unison
  • SEPA will not tolerate discrimination, bullying or harassment on the basis of a person’s gender identity, gender expression or gender history and will include trans equality as a core part of the organisation’s equality agenda and objectives