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Transgender council worker loses ‘Andy or Mandie’ discrimination claim

Mandie Monroe
Mandie Monroe applied for the role with the name Andy Mason causing confusion among staff, the tribunal heard

A transgender council worker who was asked if she wanted to be referred to as “Andy” or “Mandie” has lost a discrimination claim after suing the local authority.

Mandie Monroe created a “confusing” situation after joining Central Bedfordshire Council in April last year as a housing officer. An employment tribunal was told her name on the rota was Mandie but her email signature referred to Andy.

During her job interview, Ms Monroe, who was known as Andy Mason before transitioning, told employers “I am old school” and that she “doesn’t focus on pronouns” when asked for her preference.

Amid the uncertainty, her manager asked Ms Monroe what name she would prefer to use at work to ensure there was “consistency” for council staff and customers.

After a dispute over work-related matters led to her departure just weeks after she was hired, Ms Monroe tried to sue Central Bedfordshire Council, claiming that being asked whether she wanted to be called Andy or Mandie amounted to transgender harassment.

But she has lost her case, with an employment tribunal ruling that her boss had been simply trying to “seek clarification”.

The hearing was told Ms Monroe came out as transgender in 2018.

She was interviewed for a housing officer job at Central Bedfordshire Council by team leaders Naomi Rodriguez and Mai Brown in March 2022 and was hired, starting on April 19 2022.

A tribunal report said: “On her application form she used the name Andy Mason, and throughout the interview she was referred to by her first name of Andy.

“Near the end of the interview she disclosed that she was transgender.

“At that point she was thanked by Ms Brown and Ms Rodriguez for informing them and was asked by Ms Brown which were her preferred pronouns moving forward.

‘I don’t really focus on those pronouns’

“According to Ms Brown, 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’.”

The tribunal found Ms Monroe was “content to be called Andy” and that “she did not say that addressing her in the masculine was unacceptable”.

The tribunal heard Ms Monroe had a fallout with bosses over work-related matters and by May 18 2022 she had stopped working for the council.

Despite not complaining about trans harassment at the time, Ms Monroe launched legal proceedings for the claim following her dismissal.

However, employment judge Stephen Bedeau dismissed the claim.

Judge Bedeau said: “We could not find any reason or motive why [council staff] would refuse to accept the name of Mandie if Ms Monroe had expressed her wish to be called by that name.

Ms Monroe lost other claims including whistle-blowing and disability harassment related to her autism.