As the Deputy is aware, on 4 September 2015, the Gender Recognition Act 2015 came into effect and provides for the legal recognition of a person's preferred gender.
Under the Civil Service Diversity Policy - A Policy of Equality of Opportunity, the Department of Finance is strongly committed to equality of opportunity in all it employment practices. As an employer, the Department must fulfil its obligations under equality legislation, particularly the Employment Equality Act 1998-2015.
The Employment Equality Act 1998-2015, outlaws discrimination in a wide range of employment and employment-related areas. These include recruitment and promotion; equal pay; working conditions; learning opportunities - whether on the job or formal training; dismissal and harassment including sexual harassment.
In 2015, the Civil Service published its revised Dignity a Work Policy which was developed in partnership between the civil service management and staff unions. The revised policy which applies to staff of the Department of Finance, aims to promote respect, dignity, safety and equality in the workplace. Every member of staff should be aware that all forms of bullying, harassment and sexual harassment are unacceptable and every member of staff has a duty to behave in an acceptable and respective manner.
As part of the revised policy a new role of Designated Person and Contact person were introduced. The contact person is someone who is available to listen and provide information to a staff member who may be concerned regarding bullying, harassment or sexual harassment in the workplace.
In addition the Civil Service Employment Service, CSEAS, is a neutral support service and provides a wide range of free and confidential supports to all employees of the Department.
Lastly, I wish to advise the Deputy that the Department of Finance, has run unconscious bias training for staff and that during 2017 over 175 staff attended this training. The Department proposed to provide further opportunities for staff to attend unconscious bias training during 2018.