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Memo: Pronoun Use in the Workplace

To support the inclusion and belonging of everyone in our workplace, [Company name] recognizes the importance of using an individual's desired pronouns at work as a form of respect and courtesy.

A personal pronoun is a short word used to replace a person's name in a sentence, such as "she saw the dog" instead of "Rachel saw the dog." Many individuals prefer to use pronouns other than he/him/his or she/her/hers, such as they/them/theirs or ze/zir/zirs. These are just examples; pronouns are unique to each individual and an individual may change the pronouns they use.

All employees are expected to adhere to the following:

  • Don't make assumptions based on an individual's appearance or name. Use the person's name or the singular they as an alternative to using a pronoun you are unsure of: "Jordan is starting today. They will be sitting at this desk." It is OK to ask someone their pronouns if you don't know.
  • If you make a mistake, don't drag out the situation; this may make others feel uncomfortable. Simply apologize and use the correct pronouns going forward.
  • Educate yourself. It is not appropriate to question people on why they use certain pronouns or what those pronouns mean. If you have questions, use reputable online sources to help you better understand pronoun use, such as the Human Rights Campaign.

Some additional suggestions for respectful pronoun use at work:

  • Add your own pronouns to your e-mail signature, business cards, etc.
  • Introduce yourself using your pronouns: "Hi, I'm Jean. I go by she/her pronouns."
  • Practice using terms that you haven't used in the past, such as the singular they or ze/zir.

It is the expectation that all [Company name] employees are respectful and courteous to others. An employee who intentionally refuses to use another person's correct pronouns will be subject to discipline. 


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