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Transgender women win employment discrimination cases

In April, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission officially extended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to protect transgender people from harassment and discrimination. Advocates hailed that decision as a step toward improved rights for LGBT citizens, a goal that seems to have achieved fruition with two recent rulings. The EEOC sided with a transgender woman from Maryland who said she suffered harassment at her job in Maryland due to her transgender tendency, as well as ruling in favor of another transgender woman who says she suffered discrimination while being recruited by a government agency. Many LGBT advocates are calling the successful employment discrimination claims the first of their kind.

The details of the Maryland woman's case are unclear, as the terms of her settlement stipulate that the EEOC and all parties involved maintain confidentiality. However, LGBT organizations like Freedom to Work have praised the EEOC for its landmark decision.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff was recruited by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and relocated to Maryland after the agency offered her a position. The plaintiff, a former police officer and military veteran, then informed ATF officials that while she had appeared as a man during the interview process, she would henceforth present herself as a woman for work. She claims that officials with the bureau failed to return her phone calls after obtaining proof of her name change and eventually informed her they had cut the job. The ATF then quickly offered her job to another, less-qualified candidate.

The EEOC issued a 51-page ruling in which it ordered the ATF to offer the plaintiff the original position along with back pay, interest and benefits covering a period of several months. The ATF must also reimburse the woman's legal fees and compensate her for any injuries she may have received due to the discrimination.

Salon, "Transgender woman wins landmark employment discrimination suit" Katie McDonough, Jul. 16, 2013

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