Workplace Human Rights

Deadnaming

 

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal recently considered a complaint brought by a transgender man who uses masculine pronouns. He had also been accustomed to using a name which was different from his biological name. The tribunal referenced this name given at birth as a “deadname”. 1

The facts of the complaint involved more than the refusal of the company to use his preferred pronouns and name, an allegation which was proven. The case also showed that the employer harassed the complainant by subjecting him to verbal ridicule, sexual comments and touching.

He was awarded $3,000 against one individual respondent and $12,000 against the employer for personal damages and a further $3,000 for special compensation as allowed under the federal code.

On the issue of the use of the requested name and pronouns, the Tribunal noted that, as in this case, transgender employees, are entitled to respect for this request. It is a fundamental obligation owed to each employee.

The Ontario tribunal considered a similar claim in its 2021 decision. 2 EN and the second complainant identified as non-binary trans persons, as did EN. Notwithstanding the request of each person to be referenced as they/them, the proprietor persistently misgendered each of them. He also referred to each person as “trannies” in conversations with third parties. They were each awarded $10,000. There was also a finding that the complaints were not properly investigated.

Neither the corporate or personal respondent defended the claim.