Transgender Community Steps Closer to Employment Equality

A South Dakota woman’s settlement is the latest in a string of cases that say transgender discrimination is applicable under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

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A transgender woman has reached a $50,000 settlement with her former employer in a discrimination case in South Dakota, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced Monday,  accelerating a trend toward equal opportunity for transgender workers.

Cori McCreery, 29, was fired in 2010 after telling her employer at Don’s Valley Market in Rapid City, S.D. that she would be transitioning on the job. Lambda Legal, a legal organization for lesbian, gay, and transgender people as well as those living with HIV, filed a complaint on McCreery’s behalf in 2012 in partnership with the EEOC, saying her employer violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

McCreery will receive $50,000 according to a statement on the EEOC website and there will be a public notice on the bulletin board of her former employer, Lambda says. The employer will also be responsible for issuing an apology and letter of recommendation to McCreery.

“This comprehensive settlement makes a strong statement about the EEOC’s commitment that discrimination against transgender workers will not be tolerated,” said Dru Levasseur, Transgender Rights Project Director for Lambda Legal said in a statement. “The days of firing people on the basis of their gender identity or gender expression have passed. “

A comment was not immediately available from a representative of the employer in the case.

In April 2012, the EEOC issued a landmark decision for a transgender discrimination case, Macy v. Holder, which classified discrimination based on gender identity as a violation of Title VII, which prohibits work place discrimination. In July, Lambda Legal helped a transgender woman in Maryland reach a settlement after she faced verbal and physical harassment on the job over two years.

Brian Moulton, the legal director for the Human Rights campaign, says while this settlement and those that have come before it represent a positive movement in regard to LGBT rights, Title VII can only do so much.

“The application of Title VII for transgender people is an encouraging trend, but it’s just that—a trend,” Moulton told TIME. “We’re still a ways from being clear to employers across the country on the basis of discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.”

Though Title VII provides protection, there is no federal law prohibiting discrimination against either transgender or lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, currently 16 states and D.C., along with 150 cities and counties, have laws that prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. Twenty-one states and D.C. have laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would provide that federal protection, was introduced in both houses of the 113th Congress this year. In July, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved the bill.

16 comments
rebecca_11
rebecca_11

Unfortunately this is only telling one side of the story! Cori was never in a supervisor position, nor was she excelling at her job, nor was she fired solely on the basis that she was a transgender! It's unfortunate that she was let go at the time of the beginning of her transition, but that was not what it was about!

mary.waterton
mary.waterton

Americans need to make a decision .......... Do YOU want good jobs at good wages -or- do YOU want in-your-face homosexuality that is protected by the Government?

The Chinese would be more than happy to take your jobs if you don't want them. I can tell you for a fact that businesses cannot stand still and do NOTHING while transmutated freaks like Cori McCreery drive off their customers.

notsacredh
notsacredh

My job involves a good bit of physical labor and we work outside. We only have one shower stall that is just a little over 3 ft by 3 ft. We have a very limited amount of time to clean up before we go home. 3-4 straight men crammed into that tiny space is uncomfortable. It would be even more awkward if there was a transgender person in there with us.

Chosun1
Chosun1

The whole "gender self-identification" push will backfire if the current trend of using government force to create acceptance continues.

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

Utterly ridiculous.  God made us all Men and Women for the purpose of staying like that.  To alter the natural order of things is to pervert His Will.

LeslieGray
LeslieGray

Justice has been served! Does this mean my turn is coming? I've been fired four times in a year for being trans.

KaraMichaela
KaraMichaela

@mary.waterton  

You are a BIGOT!! I'm Transgender and what you say is calling me a freak? 

ADVISE!!! Why don't you just be yourself instead of faking a lie life? You are afraid of the unknown because you lack the knowledge and have never stretched your brain to new dimenions.

MinnesotaGrrrl
MinnesotaGrrrl

@Chosun1 No one cares about your "acceptance." What we care is that you can't fire someone, or refuse to hire them, out of prejudice against them.

tommyudo
tommyudo

@mrbomb13 

I think you would be much more comfortable in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, or any country where  religious dogma takes precedence over the rule of law . Fortunately, the US is not that type of society.

CarlosPachitoCarnivale
CarlosPachitoCarnivale

@mrbomb13 To profess to know God's will is to take His name in vain. That's one of the big 10. I don't recall, in all my years as a Reverend, ever coming across a list of 10 commandments that included "thou shalt not seek treatment for thine medical conditions." Please, if you cannot be as a lamb, do not masquerade as one of the flock. 

Alliefoo
Alliefoo

@mrbomb13 I'm glad we have you to explain to us what god's will is and isn't since you seem to know his opinion on every issue.

jmsr21
jmsr21

@mrbomb13 Good thing we live in a somewhat secular country and not everyone lives under God's will. 

tommyudo
tommyudo

@LeslieGray 

First it was African Americans,  then Latinos , then gay people that you couldn't discriminate against. Now it's trans gender people that have rights too. Pretty soon all the bigots aren't going to have any groups that they can discriminate against. What's a bigot to do? :-)

notsacredh
notsacredh

@LeslieGray, I hope your next job is a permanent one. For those of us that have never suffered from the effects of discrimination, I don't think that we can truly appreciate what others have been through. I've worked the same job for all of my working life and can retire anytime I feel like it. Good luck. 

KaraMichaela
KaraMichaela

@tommyudo @mrbomb13 u

uMMMMM.   YOU ARE GOD.  I AM GOD.   wake up people. everything that has, is, or will exist is pure consciousness and powered by love. Physical materially things are just an illusion.