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U.S. District Court allows pursuit of Maryland transgender claim

According to a Maryland county, it rejected an application by a former U.S. Capitol Police officer to serve in its volunteer mounted patrol because she lives too far away and is overqualified. Besides, Howard County argued, they don’t allow retired cops in the volunteer patrol.

The person who filed a sex discrimination lawsuit against the county has come to a different conclusion about the rejected application: it’s because she used to be a he. 

The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland recently held that the retired officer can pursue her claims that the county denied her application in violation of federal and state laws prohibiting workplace gender discrimination.

The court decided that transsexuals can receive Title VII protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, even though the case doesn’t slot into a traditional gender discrimination category. The claim can now proceed to a trial and jury.

Regular readers of our blog will recall that we not long ago reported on Maryland discrimination legislation signed into law by Governor Martin O’Malley. Taking effect later this year, it expressly prohibits workplace discrimination against transsexual individuals.

The district court denied Howard County’s request to dismiss the claims of the woman who transitioned from male to female after retiring from the USCP in 2002.

Although the mounted patrol position is voluntary, there are “significant remuneration benefits available upon injury or death,” a news report indicates.

Despite the county’s claims that the applicant is overqualified and lives too far away, one applicant accepted for the position is also a former cop – who lives farther away from Howard County than she does.

Those who believe they have suffered unfair workplace discrimination on the basis of gender should discuss the matter with an attorney experienced in protecting client rights.

Source: HR.BLR.com, "Maryland district court allows transgender bias suit to go forward," Kevin C. McCormick, June 9, 2014

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