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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 9, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 50
Trans man wins Title VII sex discrimination case
Section One
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Trans man wins Title VII sex discrimination case

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A federal arbitrator ruled on December 7 that a Transgender man in Lake Charles, Louisiana, was illegally forced to quit his job 'because of his sex,' violating his rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Tristan Broussard had worked for an installment loan company for less than a week when he was called into the office and instructed by a company vice president to sign a document stating that his 'preference to act and dress as male' was not 'in compliance' with the company's personnel policies.

Broussard quit the job rather than comply with the company's demand that he present as a woman at work.

The federal arbitrator found that Broussard 'involuntarily resigned in order to escape an intolerable and illegal requirement imposed by the corporate office - that he act and dress only as a female.'

The arbitrator then ordered the company to pay Broussard more than a year of pay, as well as emotional distress damages.

'I am very happy to have this ruling,' Broussard said in a statement. 'I just wanted to work hard and do my job, and I hope this ruling will allow other employees the chance to do the same.'

'No one should have to face employment discrimination or the fear of being fired simply because of their sex,' said Amy Whelan, a senior staff attorney at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which assisted Broussard with his complaint.

'Transgender people experience extremely high rates of unemployment and poverty due to widespread discrimination in the workplace. Employers need to understand that there are legal consequences when they fire or harass their employees based on gender identity,' Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) Senior Policy Counsel Scott McCoy added. Theh SPLC also helped with Broussard's case.

Private attorney Casey Pitts, who is representing Broussard, said, 'Transgender workers deserve the same certainty as others that their jobs and livelihood depend not on irrelevant characteristics but on the quality of their work and the skills they provide.'

Federal courts have repeatedly recognized that Title VII, which prohibits sex discrimination, also protects Transgender workers.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency charged by Congress with interpreting and enforcing Title VII, has also made clear that employers cannot fire or refuse to hire employees because they are Transgender.

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