Virgin Atlantic Announces New Gender Policy
Workspan Daily
September 30, 2022

This week, Virgin Atlantic announced an update to its gender identity policy and removed the requirement for its people to wear gendered uniform options. 

Effective immediately, the British airline said employees can “wear the clothing that expresses how they identify or present themselves. In addition to the policy, the airline also announced wider updates including the introduction of optional pronoun badges, ticketing system amends to allow for passport holders with gender neutral gender markers to use their gender codes and titles, and mandatory inclusivity training for staff. 

“At Virgin Atlantic, we believe that everyone can take on the world, no matter who they are,” Juha Jarvinen, the airline’s chief commercial officer, said in a statement. “That’s why it’s so important that we enable our people to embrace their individuality and be their true selves at work. It is for that reason that we want to allow our people to wear the uniform that best suits them and how they identify and ensure our customers are addressed by their preferred pronouns.” 

Launched as part of its Be Yourselfagenda, the airline has already unveiled a series of inclusivity initiatives for its people to ensure they can truly be themselves at work and feel comfortable in their roles. This latest addition follows a decision in 2019 to offer cabin crew the choice whether to wear make-up as well as the option to wear trousers and flat shoes. More recently, the airline lifted restrictions around allowing visible tattoos for crew members and its frontline people. 

California Workers Won’t Have to Worry About Off-the-Clock Marijuana Use 

According to the Los Angeles Times, California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed into law a bill that makes California the seventh state in the U.S. that will not allow employers to discriminate against workers who smoke weed “off the job and away from the workplace.” The law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2024. 

The law prohibits employers from making hiring, firing or other employment decisions based on a drug test that finds “nonpsychoactive cannabis metabolites” in someone’s hair or urine, which do not indicate current impairment, but that someone consumed cannabis recently, up to weeks prior, according to Assembly Bill 2188 that Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) sponsored. 

The new law provides for exceptions for people working in building and construction, as well as people applying for or working in roles that require a federal background clearance. 

The law still allows employers to require drug screening as a condition of employment, as long as the tests “do not screen for nonpsychoactive cannabis metabolites.” After the use of cannabis, the chemical compound that can cause psychoactive effects, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, becomes a nonpsychoactive cannabis metabolite, which can remain in the system for weeks. That metabolite does not indicate current impairment. 

Jim Araby, the director of strategic campaigns for the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5, called the new law a “victory for all workers.” 

“No employee deserves to feel stigmatized and unsafe at work because of an outdated testing method,” Araby said. “There are much more accurate, modern-day cannabis testing methods, like oral swabs, that are able to detect recent use and increase workplace safety.” 

Citi Enhances Education Program to Support Employee Career and Financial Mobility 

Citi recently announced it is investing in the professional and personal success of its employees through a new education benefits program, managed in partnership with EdAssist by Bright Horizons. Citi has collaborated with Bright Horizons for 30 years to provide its employees with benefits to support work/life balance. 

Available to Citi employees across the U.S., the new education program builds upon a previous tuition reimbursement offering to provide more robust education and financial support to those obtaining degrees or professional certifications. Citi is proactively removing barriers to education access to ease the financial burden by offering no-cost, fully funded degrees from five partner schools (CSU Global, University of Maryland Global Campus, Walden University, Alamo, and Western Governor’s University) and tuition assistance for bachelor’s, graduate, and certificate programs to employees. Program participants also have access to success coaches to support them along the way to encourage degree or certificate completion. 

“At Citi, we are committed to empowering our talent to reach their full potential. By covering upfront tuition costs and removing financial strain, we are giving employees greater opportunity to gain the skills they need to grow their careers,” said Cameron Hedrick, Citi chief learning officer. “This education offering adds to Citi’s extensive set of benefits that support our colleagues personally and professionally.” 

Editor’s Note: Additional Content 

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