Calling a trans woman a 'w***er' is discrimination, tribunal hears

Calling a trans woman a 'w***er' is discriminatory as the slur is typically used towards men, a tribunal has heard.

The employment tribunal ruled that the swear word was not gender-neutral, and therefore aiming it towards trans women would breach equality laws.

This ruling came after trans bus driver, Amanda Fischer, sued for gender reassignment discrimination after a fellow employee aimed the insult at her.

Ms Fischer claimed her colleague at London United Busways in Hounslow had “pushed” her arm with his shoulder and “exhibited hostility” which made her “very upset”.

Speaking about the incident, Ms Fischer said: “It was frightening. He called me a swear word because he didn’t like the look of me.”

Representing herself, she told the tribunal: 'I saw he didn't accept my gender because in the workplace we have different cultures, different religions, and he is standing there with two other drivers in the middle, and looking at me in a very serious way, because he didn't like what he could see in front of him.

Miss Fischer's supervisor told the panel: '[The driver] denied being rude to Miss Fischer at all and, in fact, said that he had not spoken to her or about her. He was surprised and confused. I said there must have been a misunderstanding.'

Agency worker Miss Fischer lost because the tribunal in Croydon, South London, ruled the incident did not happen.

But it said had the word been used, it would have amounted to discrimination.

The panel suggested that to insult a trans woman without being discriminatory, female-specific slurs should be used instead.

Employment judge Kathryn Ramsden said: “The tribunal does not consider the insult ‘w***er’ to be a gender-neutral term.

Two days after this incident allegedly took place, Miss Fischer was told her contract with the company had been terminated, which she told the tribunal was connected to the discrimination she faced.

However, the panel found that she wasn't discriminated against for being a trans woman after concluding the 'w***er' comment hadn't been made and dismissing her complaint about the near miss.