There may be a time when it feels necessary to inform your work that you’d like to use specific pronouns. You may not have legally changed your gender marker or your name, but this is still part of your identity and you would like them to address you correctly.
Many company owners will be happy to do this, perhaps changing your gender on a name tag or simply referring to you properly when they talk to you in meetings or at your desk. Unfortunately, however, there are also those who refuse to do so. If so, is that a violation of your rights?
It may be harassment
This could be an example of harassment. To some degree, it may depend on intent. For example, if your boss simply makes a mistake and uses the wrong pronoun, that may be an honest mistake and not an example of harassment.
But if you ask them to change and then they refuse and intentionally use incorrect pronouns for you, knowing exactly what they’re doing and continuing to do so on purpose, then they are harassing you based on your sexual identity. As with other types of sexual harassment, this is certainly illegal and not a type of treatment that you deserve on the job.
It is worth noting that some employers will claim it was an honest mistake when it was not. A pattern of behavior can be telling.
What can you do?
This situation can get very complicated, but it’s important to know about your rights and your legal options. There are steps that you can take at this time. It may help to work with an experienced team who has taken on these types of cases before.