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Illegal to discriminate against trans-people at work

The amendment is unrelated to the Gender Identity Bill that the government proposed earlier this year.

tim_diacono
Tim Diacono
18 August 2014, 8:05am
People who underwent, are undergoing, or intend to undergo gender reassignment are all legally recognised as trans.
People who underwent, are undergoing, or intend to undergo gender reassignment are all legally recognised as trans.
An amendment to the Employment and Industrial Relations Act has made it illegal to discriminate against trans-people at the workplace.

The new provision came into force last Tuesday. Among other conditions, it is now illegal for employers to reject trans-people for a job solely because of their gender identity. It is now also illegal to harass a trans-person employer, employee or colleague on the ground of their gender identity.

People who underwent, are undergoing, or intend to undergo gender reassignment are all legally recognised as trans.

Silvan Agius, Human Rights policy coordinator, told MaltaToday that this new law brings Malta’s Employment and Industrial Relations Act (EIRA) in line with EU laws.

“This amendment is continuing the government’s equality mainstreaming exercise,” Agius said.  “The inclusion of gender reassignment in the Act also brings it in line with the anti-discrimination articles found in both Malta’s Constitution and the Equality for Men and Woman Act.” 

Agius said that trans people who feel discriminated against by their employer can choose to file a complaint with the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality, file a case with anindustrial tribunal, or take the case straight to court.

“Employees do not need to prove that their employer has discriminated against them,” Agius said. “They only need to provide enough evidence pointing to a likely case of discrimination.

“The employer will then need to prove that discrimination has not taken place.”

While employees undergoing gender reassignment surgery or treatment are already able to take sick leave, Agius said that the law had previously been “silent” about this detail. He added that the amendment has made this issue clearer for everyone.

The amendment is unrelated to the Gender Identity Bill that the government proposed earlier this year. Agius did not disclose any details of the bill’s contents other than that it “will have all the hallmarks of a human rights law where the rights of trans people will be fully respected”.

“The Gender Identity Bill will be concluded by the LGBTI Consultative Council next week,” Agius said.

tim_diacono
Tim Diacono is a journalist at MaltaToday
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