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EEOC rules U.S. Army discriminated against transgender woman

Wisconsin residents may be interested to learn that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that the U.S. Army violated the civil rights of a transgender civilian employee working in Alabama. The decision was issued on April 1.

According to the complaint, which was filed in March 2012, a transgender woman who worked as a software quality assurance specialist at the Redstone Arsenal Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center near Huntsville experienced discrimination and harassment by superior officers when she began her transition from male to female 5 years ago. She alleged that officers referred to her by her male birth name and male pronouns, kept her from accessing the women's restroom and purposely outed her. She further alleges that, despite receiving high marks on her work performance, she was removed from her post at AMRDEC because other workers were uncomfortable.

In its ruling, the EEOC agreed with the woman's allegations, stating that Army officers had violated gender protections listed in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by publicly segregating and isolating her from other employees of the same gender and making her feel unequal to other female employees because she is transgender. If the Army chooses not to contest the ruling, they will be required to grant the woman unrestricted access to all female facilities, take actions to prevent future retaliation and harassment and pay compensatory damages. In addition, all AMRDEC managers, contractors and civilian employees must also undergo sensitivity training.

Any employee who feels they have endured harassment, discrimination or retaliation based on their gender may benefit by speaking with an attorney familiar with employment law. After reviewing the specifics of a claim, a lawyer could go over an individual's legal rights and recommend a plan of action.

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

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