Firing of transwoman because coworkers might feel "uncomfortable" is discrimination, Court rules

It's currently legal to fire someone for being lesbian, gay or bisexual in 29 states, and transgender workers can be fired for being trans in 38 states. Alaska is in both categories, having no job protections for LGBT employees.

While Congress is slowly working on ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, several discrimination cases are moving through the courts. Last week, transgender employees won an important legal victory:
U.S. District Judge Richard W. Story handed down a decision finding the firing of Vandy Beth Glenn—a former Georgia state legislative editor who announced that she would be transitioning from a man to a woman—unconstitutional.

Born Glenn Morrison, the plaintiff alleged that her boss, Georgia Legislative Counsel Sewell Brumby, dismissed her after two years of employment because the gender transition she was about to undergo would make coworkers feel "uncomfortable" and be seen as "immoral" by Georgia lawmakers. In Glenn v. Brumby et. al., Sewell argued that lawmakers "would no longer trust his office if a transgendered person worked there," states

But in a 50-page decision, Story wrote: "[A]voiding the anticipated negative reactions of others cannot serve as a sufficient basis for discrimination and does not constitute an important government interest."
He fired her because coworkers might feel uncomfortable? I've felt uncomfortable around homophobic coworkers, but never suggested that otherwise qualified employees should be fired because of their bigotry. As usual, substitute any other minority group for "transgendered person" and you'll see how absurd this is.

Note that she worked with adults - not with children, not in a religious setting, and not visible to the general public. Those are the main talking points that bigots use to whip up fear of transgender workers. But none were present in this case. It wasn't fear for the children that got her fired, it was a boss who was afraid of working with someone different from himself - someone he had already been working with for two years.

Sadly, this kind of firing is not unusual. And it doesn't just happen in the south, it happens here too. This court decision will help end job discrimination against transgender workers in Georgia, and eventually throughout the U.S.
... In this case, "the court proved that the Georgia General Assembly isn't above the constitution," says Lambda Legal transgender-rights attorney Dru Levasseur, who is co-representing Glenn, in a press release. "The evidence was clear—Vandy Beth was fired because her boss didn't like who she is, and that kind of treatment is unfair and illegal."
Last September, Ms. Glenn testified at a congressional hearing on the federal bill ENDA, which, if passed, would ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression through the country. She explained her case in the testimony:

No comments:

Copyright © 2008 by Bent Alaska.