Trans woman who applied for job at Central Bedfordshire Council loses ‘Andy or Mandie’ discrimination claim

“I am old school, I don’t really focus on those pronouns”
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A trans worker who was asked if she wanted to be referred to as Andy or Mandie has had her discrimination claim against Central Bedfordshire Council thrown out.

A tribunal found Mandie Monroe created confusion after joining the council last April. She interviewed for the position of housing officer and had used the name Andy Mason on the application.

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Near the end of the interview she disclosed she was transgender and it was at this point her prospective employers asked her which pronoun she preferred.

According to one of the interviewers, Mai Brown – the homeless intervention team leader – Ms Monroe’s response was: “I am old school, I don’t really focus on those pronouns. I am a cross-dresser sometimes you might see me in a dress but you can call me Andy.”

However, once in the job, she signed off her emails as Mandie or M.

On one occasion when a rota was being drawn up by Surenne Hibbins – a trainee homeless intervention officer – Ms Monroe was again asked which name she preferred she was in the early stages of transitioning.

According to the tribunal findings: “She then proceeded to say that it did not matter what name Ms Hibbins put down on the rota as she would not take offence. As the claimant had stood up to show her long skirt and top, Ms Hibbins interpreted that behaviour as the claimant’s preference was to be named as Mandie on the rota.”

During a third occasion, on a video call, former housing options team leader Naomi Rodriguez told Ms Monroe that although she was free to use whatever name she wished, for other staff and customers there would be the need for consistency.

After being asked to clarify whether she should be referred to as either Mandie or Andy, she replied said she be content to be referred to as Andy in the workplace, and Mandie outside of work.

The tribunal then heard Ms Monroe had a falling out with bosses over other work-related matters and by May 18 of last year, she stopped working for the council.

And despite not complaining about trans harassment during her time at the council offices, Ms Monroe launched the claim after she left.

However, Employment Judge Stephen Bedeau dismissed the claim.

He said: “On the issue of credibility, having heard the respondent’s witnesses, we are satisfied that they gave reliable and consistent accounts of what they observed, what was said, and what they did. They also had relevant documents to support their accounts. They were credible and truthful witnesses.

"Where the claimant’s evidence came into conflict with the evidence given by the respondent’s witnesses, we preferred their accounts of events.”

He went on to say: “She [Naomi Rodriguez] did not instruct the claimant [Mandie Monroe] to use the name of Andy at work. It was the claimant’s choice. It is clear that the claimant continued to use her personal email in the name of Andy Mason. We are satisfied on the evidence, that the claimant was content for the respondent to have her down as Andy.

“It was confusing as it was a situation created by the claimant.”

Ms Monroe also lost her other claim related to her autism.