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Victory for transgender woman in discrimination suit

Individuals in Indiana may be interested to learn that on April 1, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission made an important ruling that experts say will strengthen the rights of transgender people in civilian government employment. A woman who began transitioning from male to female in 2010 filed a suit in 2012 after she was let go from her position.

According to the woman, she had suffered persistent harassment up to that point in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Among other forms of harassment, she says that she was not permitted to use the women's restroom although she was legally entitled to so, that she was referred to as "sir" and by her former name, and that colleagues shared details of her transition with others.

The EEOC sided with the woman and ruled that she must be paid damages and must be allowed access to the women's bathrooms. It also mandated that sensitivity training occur at the facility where the woman worked. She will have a new position with the Army, and harassment or retaliation against her has been forbidden. This EEOC decision is one of several that have increased protections for transgender people, including both an executive order and a memo from the U.S. Department of Justice in 2014 that address and prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.

An individual who feels they have faced gender discrimination and has not received a satisfactory response in the workplace may wish to consult an attorney. While discrimination has been prohibited on the basis of qualities such as race, age and sex, awareness of discrimination based on gender is increasing, and individuals may find that they have access to more legal protection than they did a few years ago.

Source: Military.com, "Transgender Woman Wins Discrimination Case Against Army," April 10, 2015

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