Thanks to the hard work and dedication of brave GLBT individuals and advocacy organizations, gay and lesbian individuals are finally being granted a greater degree of respect. While some places, including many areas in California, are more accepting of this community than others, there is still a long way to go in the fight for equal rights for all people.
Unfortunately, people who identify as transgender individuals often have a bigger fight ahead of them in terms of equal treatment and respect from the mainstream community. Perhaps things will change with more people willing to speak out and the media paying attention to their struggle. Perhaps the notoriety given to Olympic athlete and television personality Bruce Jenner will further the cause.
However, as our Orange County employment attorneys have seen all too often, there is still a great of deal of discrimination against transgender employees. According to a recent article from the Advocate, a California employee of national bookstore is suing her employer for what she believes to be discrimination against her because she is transgender.
The case was filed by a transgender woman who alleges her employer would not let her use the women’s restroom, wear women’s clothing, use female pronouns, or discuss her transition with her co-workers. She was employed at the Orange County location of the bookstore chain.
She was hired at the bookstore seven years ago, when she still outwardly identified as a male. She said when she first told her manager she was planning to transition, she was told she could do so at work. She first tried to follow her employer’s wishes and tried to live as a male while at work but said it was causing her extreme emotional distress and anxiety, and she believed she would be fired, as her performance was starting to become effected by her emotional issues.
Her attorneys said they were especially troubled by the fact that this employer had listed it as 100 percent compliant with the guidelines established by the Human Rights Coalition and assigned their company a perfect score for how they treated GLBT employees.
When asked for a comment, a spokesperson for the national bookstore chain said while they cannot comment on ongoing litigation, they have always prided themselves on how they treat transgender individuals and cited examples of the good work they have done in the past regarding this issue.
In this particular case, it was not an employee who only worked for the company for a short period of time and then filed a lawsuit. She stated in her complaint she had worked for the company for years and put herself through college while working there. She said she loved the company and her job, and had no intention of leaving, but the situation became unbearable, and her basic human rights were being ignored.
It should be noted, the plaintiff in this case has made allegations against her prior employer, but as of the time of this article, they are only allegations, as defendant has not been found liable in a court of law.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 949.375.4734.
Denied Female Identity at Barnes & Noble, California Trans Employee Files Suit, May 9, 2015, Advocate
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