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Transgender woman settles harassment suit

A transgender woman based out of Maryland recently settled a lawsuit regarding sexual harassment in the workplace. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that the woman was subjected to physical and verbal harassment at her job with a federal contractor for the two years she was employed there.

In 2012, the EEOC declared that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prevents discrimination and harassment in the workplace based on sex, extends to transgendered people. However, this is the first time the Commission has investigated and ruled in favor of a transgendered employee. 

The woman who filed the complaint with the EEOC claimed she was subjected to verbal abuse such as "tranny," "drag queen." and "faggot." According to the EEOC, who investigated and interviewed colleagues and management, the woman was subjected to gender-based comments by both coworkers and supervisors. The EEOC concluded that the management of the company failed to adequately respond to allegations when informed of the behavior. 

The government contractor who agreed to the settlement did not admit any harassing behavior, but did agree to republish its anti-discrimination policy to its employees. Because of the company's agreement, the party who brought the suit did not publish the name of the government contractor.

If you have been the subject of harassment or discrimination based on sex or any other protected class, you do have rights. Backpay, reinstatement and monetary damages are all possible with a successful discrimination claim. Workers who have been harassed should contact an experienced employment law attorney to discuss their legal options.

Source: Metro Weekly, "Breakthrough EEOC Settlement in Maryland," John Riley, July 17, 2013.

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