What Pronoun Are You? Dos and Don'ts to Protect Employers from Gender-Based Discrimination Claims

May 29, 2022
Virginia Lawyer

Welcome to Richardson Law Firm PC, the leading authority in providing legal guidance and expertise in the realm of employment law. In this article, we will explore an important topic that has gained significant attention in recent years - gender-based discrimination claims and the dos and don'ts for employers to safeguard against such claims in the workplace.

Understanding Gender-Based Discrimination

Gender-based discrimination refers to the unfair treatment of individuals based on their gender identities, including transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming individuals. It is crucial for employers to understand and address these issues in order to create an inclusive and supportive work environment.

The Importance of Pronouns

One aspect that plays a significant role in promoting inclusivity is the use of correct pronouns. Pronouns are an essential part of an individual's gender identity and using the right pronouns demonstrates respect and recognition for their gender expression.

Employers should encourage their employees to share their preferred pronouns and ensure these pronouns are used accurately in all workplace interactions. Taking such proactive measures not only fosters a sense of belonging for gender diverse employees but also reduces the risk of potential discrimination claims.

Dos to Protect Employers

Educate and Train Staff

Investing in training programs that educate employees about gender diversity, inclusivity, and the importance of respecting pronouns is crucial. This training should encompass all levels of the organization, from top-level management to entry-level employees.

By educating staff members on the topic, employers can foster a culture of acceptance, tolerance, and understanding. This, in turn, helps to prevent misunderstandings and potential discriminatory acts based on gender identity.

Develop Inclusive Policies

It is vital for employers to update their policies and procedures to explicitly include provisions related to gender diversity and inclusive practices. By implementing comprehensive policies that address gender identity issues, employers can set clear expectations for all employees and promote an inclusive work environment.

Moreover, these policies should outline the consequences of any form of gender-based discrimination, ensuring employees understand the severity and potential legal ramifications of such behavior.

Don'ts to Avoid Gender-Based Discrimination Claims

Avoid Making Assumptions

One of the biggest mistakes employers can make is assuming an individual's pronouns based on their appearance or previous assumptions. It is crucial to respect each individual's self-identified pronouns and ask for clarification if unsure.

Assumptions can lead to unintentional misgendering, which can not only alienate and hurt employees but also create a hostile work environment. By avoiding assumptions and instead relying on the pronouns individuals provide, employers can demonstrate their commitment to inclusion and respect.

Not Providing Safe Spaces for Conversation

Creating safe spaces for open dialogue about gender identity can greatly contribute to educating and raising awareness among employees. Employers should encourage discussions, allowing employees to ask questions and learn from one another.

By promoting a culture of open communication and fostering an environment where employees feel comfortable discussing gender-related matters, employers can effectively prevent misconceptions and discrimination.


In conclusion, gender-based discrimination claims pose significant risks to employers in today's evolving workplace landscape. However, by taking proactive measures, such as educating staff, implementing inclusive policies, avoiding assumptions, and creating safe spaces for conversation, employers can protect themselves and create a more inclusive work environment for all employees.

At Richardson Law Firm PC, we understand the complexities surrounding gender-based discrimination claims and offer comprehensive legal services and guidance to assist employers in navigating these important matters. Contact us today to ensure your workplace remains inclusive and free from discrimination.