Gender Self-Determination Name Change and Labor Relations
March 29, 2019.
We must prepare ourselves to implement the changes that are required at the organizational level, related to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal Decree that will be published at any time in the Gazette, which gives the possibility of changing a name in accordance with gender self-determination to which each person is entitled. Workplace preparation should focus on two perspectives:
1. Organizational Perspective: Education, training, awareness, acculturation, paradigm change, updating on all issues related to human rights, anti-discrimination, sexual harassment, and gender identity acceptance.
2. Labor Legal Perspective: Revision and modification of internal policies, modification of internal documents (letters of warning, dismissal, labor certificates, report documents to public institutions, etc.).
Understanding of the legal repercussions at the organizational level and at the level of each employee, related to discriminatory acts, or workplace harassment is imperative. Recall that, as a result of the Advisory Opinion of the Government of Costa Rica, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Corte IDH), the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, established an internal institutional commission to issue a technical opinion on the best way to apply the resolution of the Corte IDH.
Once the recommendations of this technical committee were known, a Decree was drafted by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, which is waiting for its official publication to enter into force. The decree in comment allows any person according to the self-determination they have of their gender, to choose a name that is consistent with that self-determination. The name change will be expedited, free, without formality, and even without having to publish in the Gazette. This procedure will be one-time only and does not apply to change of name for reasons other than gender, such as an error when entering the name, discomfort or injury suffered by a person due to a name, or just for the sake of change. For all these cases, the legal procedure established by law must be followed.
At any time, a male or female worker may arrive at the workplace with their new identity card, with a name different from the one they normally use and will require the employer to give them an ID with the new name, and from that moment on the employer must refer to him or her by that new name, both at the level of the day-to-day relationship, and in the issuance of organizational documents. It could even be that this person demands other types of rights, such as participating as a male or female parent (for instance, recognition of fatherhood could be demanded by a self-determined man, even though biologically he has the appearance of a woman and vice versa). The Supreme Electoral Tribunal makes clear that, in order to request a name change, no medical, psychological, or any other type of test will be required. The employer must prepare immediately at the internal level to avoid exposure to legal claims arising from gender identity changes.
(*) All the comments issued by the author of this article are made in a personal capacity, without the same being necessarily shared by the legal entities mentioned in the professional review.
Labor & Employment