Taking the Him or Her/ He or She out of Company Policies

Dear HR:

We have a Diversity policy in our handbook. Do we need to do anything else to show we are doing what we can to treat everyone the same?

Dear HR Manager:

McCloskey Partners does not believe that simply having a Diversity Policy is enough.    One of our HRBP’s, Bridgette Drelling, recently answered a client’s question about “Degenderizing” policies.   Her answer was good. So we figured we would share it in our HR Column.

He Said / She Said


“Old” School or Inclusive? 

Be In The Know…

By: Bridgette A Drelling, PHR, SHRM-CP Certified Leave Administrator, HRBP McCloskey Partners, LLC
September 2019 Contact:  Bridgette@mccloskeypartners.com

The time has come that we must formally make attempts to de-gender our language and focus on inclusivity.  Our clients often say that they have a Diversity Policy, isn’t that enough??  NO!! It’s soooooo much more than that!

Earlier this year in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 68% of voters approved adopting gender neutral language to change gender specific references such as “councilman,” “councilmen,” “councilwoman” to gender neutral references such as “councilmember,” “council”.  Berkeley, California, voted to update city codes removing words like “manhole,” “manpower” and “policewoman”. De-gendering our language removes the underlying gender bias and accounts for individuals who are nonbinary (don’t identify as man or woman), transgender, or gender nonconforming.

This move is aligned with a nationwide push to remove references to gender in employment titles as well.

We recommend that policies be reviewed and communications and handbooks all be updated with gender neutral language.

Examples of non-gender neutral language:

  • He/She
  • Workman’s Compensation vs Worker’s Compensation
  • Waiter/Waitress vs Server
  • Stewardess vs Flight Attendant
  • Hey Guys…..
  • Pressman or Press Operator
  • Trash Man
  • Businessman
  • Salesman
  • Mailman

Contact us directly if you want to talk more about Diversity initiatives.

Sincerely yours,
Bridgette Drelling