Mozilla workplace transition policy guidelines

Human diversity leads to innovation, which is something that is key to our core business at Mozilla. We know that there’s no one way to be transgender and there’s no one right way to come out at work. However, know that we will support you through this process in a way that is comfortable for you. We will protect your privacy and confidentiality. We will also protect people who report to you.

The intended audiences for this document are employees transitioning their gender in the workplace, managers and colleagues of people who are transitioning, and interested Mozillians.

If you need assistance with any of the guidelines in this document, or would like to have a conversation about transgender-related issues, contact our Head of Diversity and Inclusion. The Diversity and Inclusion team also hosted two webinars on this topic in Fall 2018.

Note: these are the guidelines as of March 2019. This public version has had specific staff names, as well as internal links removed.

Definitions and concepts

These definitions, adapted from the Berkeley Lab Workplace Gender Transition Guidelines, are not intended to label employees, but rather to assist in understanding this policy and the legal obligations of employers. Employees may or may not use these terms to describe themselves. For more information on terminology, visit the National Center for Transgender Equality’s website.

  • Gender identity: A person’s internal, deeply felt sense of being male, female, or something other or in-between, regardless of the sex they were assigned at birth. Everyone has a gender identity.
  • Gender expression: An individual’s characteristics and behaviors (such as appearance, dress, mannerisms, speech patterns, and social interactions) that may be perceived as masculine, feminine, both, or neither.
  • Cisgender: An umbrella term that describes people whose gender identity and/or expression corresponds to their sex assigned at birth.
  • Transgender: An umbrella term used to describe people whose gender identity and/or expression is different from their sex assigned at birth.
    • A person whose sex assigned at birth was female but who identifies as male is a transgender man.
    • A person whose sex assigned at birth was male but who identifies as female is a transgender woman.
    • Some people described by this definition don’t consider themselves transgender—they may use other words, or may identify simply as a man or woman. Mozilla prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender, sex, and gender expression regardless of whether someone identifies as transgender.
  • Gender non-conforming: This term refers to individuals whose gender identity or expression exists outside of the gender binary of woman or man. This includes, for example, nonbinary, gender-fluid, gender creative, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, and agender people.

This figure, produced by TransFocus, illustrates the spectrums of sex assigned at birth, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.

4 double ended arrows stacked vertically. The first arrow is titled Sex Assigned at Birth and has female at the left end, intersex in the middle and male at the right end. The second arrow is titled Gender Identity and has Cis woman and trans woman at the right, non-binary, gender non-conforming, gender variant, gender crativec in the middle and cis man and trans man at the right end. The third arrow is titled Gender Expression and has feminine at the left end, androgynous in the middle and masculine at the right end. The fourth arrow is titled Sexual Orientation and has attracted to men at the left end, attracted to multiple genders in the middle and attracted to women at the right end.

It is important to note that everyone has a:

  • Sex assigned at birth
  • Gender identity
  • Gender expression
  • Sexual orientation

Here are a few more definitions:

  • Transition: The process some transgender people go through to begin living as the gender with which they identify, rather than the sex assigned to them at birth. This may or may not include changes in name and pronoun, bathroom and facility usage, participation in activities such as sports teams, hormone therapy, sex reassignment surgery, or other medical procedures. There are many different ways to transition. For some people, it is a complex process that takes place over a long period of time, while for others it is a one- or two-step process that happens more quickly. Transition may include coming out (telling family, friends, and coworkers); changing the name and/or sex on legal documents; and, for many transgender people, accessing medical treatment such as hormones and surgery.
  • Sexual orientation: Refers to the identities or groups of identities you are attracted to sexually. Straight, gay, and bisexual are some ways to describe sexual orientation. It is important to note that sexual orientation is distinct from gender identity and expression. Transgender people can be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or straight, just like cisgender people.
  • LGBT: A common abbreviation that refers to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

Community Participation Guidelines

The Community Participation Guidelines (CPG) outline what’s necessary to help us create a safe and positive community experience for all. The CPG explicitly includes gender, gender identity, and expression. It also states that Mozillians should be inclusive of everyone in an interaction when they are using pronouns other than “he” or “she,” such as someone who uses “they” or “ze” as pronouns, or someone who does not use pronouns at all. It’s in the spirit of the CPG to be respectful of the different ways that people might want to be addressed. Mozilla requires that Mozillians address each other by their preferred pronouns, if known.

Note: While the CPG doesn’t explicitly address non-binary gender expression, it is implicitly covered in the guidelines.

Reporting harassment

Discrimination based on gender identity or expression is not tolerated at Mozilla. The CPG states that derogatory, hurtful, or harmful language is not tolerated. This includes deliberately referring to someone by a gender that they do not identify with, and/or questioning the legitimacy of an individual’s gender identity. This could also include being dead named (using someone’s birth name instead of their chosen name) or someone not respecting a person’s pronouns. If you experience or witness harassment, report it. See the Open Door Policy page for information on how to report in your country.

Rights and responsibilities

There are rights, expectations, and responsibilities of each party associated with a transition in the workplace. It is essential that open and honest communication be established to build trust for each party. With each right also comes responsibility or an expectation. A successful transition in the workplace can occur only with commitment and understanding of each involved part.

Transitioning individual

If you are the transitioning employee, you have the right to work openly and authentically. This means that you may express your gender identity, characteristics, or expression without fear of consequences by Mozilla.

It is important for you to advocate for yourself. You are not required to tell anyone at Mozilla; however, if you choose to disclose, the first step is to inform key personnel who can assist you. Your initial point of contact may be your supervisor, a member of the People Team, or a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Team. Note that if you choose to disclose, at some point, your immediate supervisor, manager, or People Team representative becomes part of your support team.

Remember, Mozilla employees are covered under both the Community Participation Guidelines (CPG) and Mozilla’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policies, but Mozilla must be aware of your situation in order to provide support. Explain your intentions, needs, and concerns to your manager or People Partner. In reporting any situation where you are not feeling comfortable at work, it helps your manager or People Partner to understand what result or change you wish to see. In addition, the Diversity and Inclusion Team can support you with resources or by being an additional support and resource for your manager and team.


Mozilla’s culture supports diversity and inclusion. If someone who reports to you informs you of their desire to transition, or if an individual in your workplace is currently in the transition process, your support is critical. Below are tips to reflect your support:

  • If you are unfamiliar with the transition process, leverage coaching and resources available to you through the Diversity and Inclusion Team or your People Partner. For supervisors, you can use these guidelines to further educate your staff.
  • Listen carefully to what the individual is telling you and how they’d like to be treated (Do they want to keep their transition as quiet as possible or do they wish to celebrate publicly?)
  • When meeting with the transitioning individual about their needs and concerns, remain respectful and open-minded.

If you oversee, manage or lead an employee who is transitioning, it is important that you demonstrate an understanding of (and use a sensitive approach to) their needs and concerns. It may be challenging for transitioning individuals to make themselves vulnerable to a person upon whom their job depends. Make it clear that you will not gossip and only share information where there is a legitimate need to know. Managers should use discretion and be as confidential and discreet as possible. For example, if you need to contact your People Partner do not copy extraneous people to the email. Before referring to your employee by their new name or pronouns on an email list, Slack or IRC, confirm with them that this is appropriate. Explain questions and concerns you might have and ask their opinion on matters covered in subsequent sections Additional considerations on the Creating a Plan Worksheet and on putting together a plan for transitioning at work. Be prepared to have open conversations with your staff to answer any of their questions regarding the transition process.

Mozilla requires all managers and colleagues to use the transitioning individual’s preferred gender pronoun. Please note that pronouns are not limited to “she” or “he,” but can also include other non-binary pronouns such as “they” or “ze.”

Developing a plan

Discuss the expected timeline:

  • When the individual will begin their transition at work. This will probably be the point at which the individual begins to present in accordance with their gender identity, including change of name, pronouns, dress, grooming, appearance, and restroom use.
  • When to inform various stakeholders.
  • Anticipated time off required for medical treatment, if known. Since benefits may vary depending on your coverage, contact the Head of Global Benefits for more information.

The Diversity and Inclusion Team works in partnership with the People Partners to support staff who are transitioning.

Addressing concerns of coworkers and clients

If you’re a supervisor, you can reference these guidelines when communicating about transition-related topics with your team. If additional questions or concerns arise that are not covered by these guidelines, contact the Diversity and Inclusion Team.

Creating a plan

A plan can help facilitate a smooth transition process. The Creating a Plan (CAP) worksheet lists potential items of consideration for the transitioning employee, along with estimated timelines. Please note that not all gender transition “steps” occur in the same way, or in the same order. Some items in the CAP sheet may happen in a different way or order, depending on the individual’s particular situation. The CAP sheet merely functions as an overview of various steps that an individual might consider in the gender transition process. It is not intended as a definitive document or a checklist that requires strict adherence.

Putting together a stakeholders list

If you are a transitioning individual, you might consider the following questions related to stakeholders:

  • Who are all the people (internal and external) that you may need to engage at some point during your transition?
  • When do they need to be engaged?
  • Are there any specific issues that must be addressed sooner rather than later?

Creating a timeline

As a transitioning employee, it can be useful to review a list of possible action items to consider before transitioning. These steps can be tailored according to the individual’s own time frame and are just a suggestion of one way to approach transitioning at work. If you are a transitioning employee and need assistance with developing your plan, contact your People Partner.

At some point in the process, the transitioning individual may want to legally change their name. For more information on legal identity change in the US, refer to the document ID Please from the Transgender Law Center.

Specific policies and guidelines


Transgender employees have the right to discuss their gender identity or expression openly, or to keep that information private. The transgender employee gets to decide when, with whom, and how much to share their private information.

Under Mozilla’s Community Participation Guidelines (CPG), we expect Mozillians to respect the privacy of all individuals, including transgender individuals.

Management, the People Team, and coworkers should not disclose information that may reveal an employee’s transgender status or gender non-conforming presentation to others who do not have a legitimate need to know.

Names and pronouns

An employee should be addressed by the name and pronoun that correspond to the employee’s gender identity, upon request; a court-ordered name or gender change is not required. The intentional or persistent refusal to respect an employee’s gender identity (for example, intentionally referring to the employee by a name or pronoun that does not correspond to the employee’s gender identity) can constitute harassment and is a violation of Mozilla’s CPG and anti-harassment policies. If you are unsure what pronoun a transitioning coworker might prefer, you can politely ask your coworker how they would like to be addressed.

See Sage Sharp’s post in Additional resources—it includes examples of ways to talk about someone who has transitioned in a respectful manner.

Official records

Mozilla will change an employee’s official record to reflect a change in name or gender upon request from the employee. Certain types of records, like those relating to payroll and retirement accounts, may require a legal name change before the person’s name can be changed. Mozilla may also not be legally able to change some records. Many records, however, can be changed to reflect a person’s preferred name without proof of a legal name change. For specifics, see Creating a Plan worksheet.

We will update any photographs that the transitioning employee identifies in the workplace that are Mozilla’s possession and that Mozilla has the right to unilaterally alter, so the transitioning employee’s gender identity and expression are represented. If a new or transitioning employee has questions about company records or ID documents, the employee should contact their People Partner.

Restroom and locker room access

At Mozilla offices, transitioning employees have the right to use the restroom or locker room that corresponds to the employee’s gender identity or gender expression, regardless of the employee’s sex assigned at birth. The transitioning employee knows their gender better than the person objecting does.

Mozilla office spaces offer gender-neutral restrooms wherever possible. Here is the status for each office as of July 2018:

  • Vancouver: One gender-neutral restroom in-suite.
  • Toronto: Two gender-neutral restrooms in-suite.
  • London: Two gender-neutral restrooms on the building’s ground floor as well as accessible restrooms on each floor of the building. No in-suite restrooms.
  • Paris: Gender-neutral restrooms in-suite on 1st, ground, and half-floors.
  • Berlin: Gender-neutral restrooms in-suite on the 3rd and 4th floor.
  • Taipei: Gender-labeled restrooms on each floor, outside of office suite.
  • Mountain View: Gender-labeled restrooms on 1st and 2nd floors. Currently there is no gender-neutral restroom in MTV.
  • San Francisco: Gender-neutral restrooms in 1st floor commons area and one set of gender-labeled restrooms; 2nd and 3rd floor building restrooms are gender labeled; 7th floor restrooms are in-suite and also gender labeled.
  • Portland: Gender-neutral restroom in-suite. Gender-labeled restrooms outside of office suite.

This 11-minute TED talk by author Ivan E. Coyote titled Why we need gender-neutral bathrooms is great.

Benefits and leave

As benefits vary from country to country, contact the Head of Global Benefits.


Mozilla has pocket-sized cards that staff can print and carry with them when traveling.


See Creating a Plan worksheet for more details about updating authorship on previous work.

Creating a plan worksheet

This worksheet, based on Appendix A of the Berkeley Lab Guidelines, is a list of potential items to consider, along with estimated timelines. Please note that not all gender transition “steps” occur in the same way, or in the same order. Some items in the Creating a Plan (CAP) sheet may occur in a different way or order, depending on the individual’s particular situation. The CAP worksheet merely functions as an overview of various steps that an individual might consider in the gender transition process. It is not intended as a definitive document or a checklist that requires strict adherence.

Additional considerations

The following are additional considerations for the transitioning employee:

  • Which of these possible steps are important to you? Do you want to come out at work? Not telling people is an option, too.
  • Consider any unintended consequences. For example, a new subscriber ID from your insurance company may result in cancellation of pending claims, preauthorization approvals, or dependent claims, and/or may impact your selected primary care physician.
  • When will you need to process any necessary changes to other items, such as professional licenses, publications, degrees, credentials, etc.?
  • Search for your current name in various Mozilla web pages for working groups and other references. Which pages will need to be altered or removed?
  • Informing your supervisor: if and when you feel comfortable and safe to come out. Not telling people at work is an option, too.
  • Informing the people you work with: if and when you feel comfortable and safe to come out. Not telling people at work is an option, too. How would you like your team to find out about your transition (for example, a letter, a face-to-face meeting, individual discussions, your supervisor explaining)? If in person or over video, who do you want in the room?
  • Coming out—telling everyone who works with you (collaborators, internal clients, external vendors, relevant communities): if and when you feel comfortable and safe to come out. Not telling people at work is an option, too. How would you like to inform your stakeholders, clients, and/or users?
  • Update name and photo in the phonebook
  • Update name and photo on Mozilla access badge
  • Update nameplate on desk, if in an office
  • Update name and photo in Mozilla Community Directory
  • Update LDAP and computer user name
  • Update miscellaneous user names (Slack, IRC, Github, AWS)
  • Update SSH keys to reflect updated emails
  • Update user name on software (enterprise) purchases. Consult with IT to determine what is needed for enterprise software that is either a subscription service or uses a license key.
  • Update commit histories in hg and GitHub
  • Update display name on Jive phone account
  • Update name in HR information system
  • Email Payroll to give them the heads-up about a name change. For Canada and US staff, our payroll vendor houses only bank account numbers, so it’s possible to update your payroll name without updating the name on your bank account. For staff in other countries, ask Payroll.
  • Updating authorship on Mozilla blogs to reflect the new name
  • Legal name change process. This will vary depending on where you live.
  • Update name and gender on passport. This will vary depending on where you live. This might not be possible in all countries.
  • Update traveler name, gender and title (Ms., Mrs., Mr., etc.) in our travel system. Your travel documents (passport, etc.) must be updated before you change your details in our travel system. When traveling, your ID must match the name on your ticket. Gender markers or “Title” (e.g., Ms., Mrs., Mr., or Dr.) are not required in the account for anyone with an account in Egencia Americas. It is required for account creation in our travel system UK + EMEA, France, Germany, or APAC; the Title is available only as Mr., Mrs., or Ms. (no Dr.).
  • Contact Benefits to see if you should update your name and gender on your health insurance
  • Inform supervisor of any time off required
  • Contact Benefits to discuss Leave of Absence options, if needed

Additional resources