Transgender Rights Case Back in Court During Trans Awareness Week

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Graphic via glaad.org

Have you heard? It’s Trans Awareness Week!

As if to highlight the importance of recognizing the unique struggles transgender people continue to face in the workplace and other institutions, a case that’s been in and out of court for nine years was once again in court today.

This morning, Dr. Rachel Tudor presented her case before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Women’s Law Project proudly signed on to an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief supporting Tudor that was filed by the National Women’s Law Center and Cohen & Gresser, LLP on behalf of 31 additional organizations.

Read the brief here.

Here is a brief recap, in case you are unfamiliar: Dr. Tudor is a 54-year old Native American transgender woman who worked as a tenure-track professor of English at Southeastern Oklahoma State University between 2004 and 2011.

Tudor was denied tenure in 2007 not long after she informed her employer that her gender identity is female and she planned to transition. Tudor also alleged that the university dictated the kind of clothes she could wear and what bathrooms to use. She was fired in 2011.

Tudor sued in response.

The jury found in her favor, concluding that defendants violated Title VII by illegally discriminating and retaliating against her by denying her tenure, not allowing her to re-apply the following year, and then terminating her.

The verdict was celebrated as a victory for transgender rights.

Despite winning in court, the federal district court still refused to allow Tudor to return to a tenure-track position at her previous job or provide her with appropriate compensation for lost earnings. In addition, the district court drastically reduced the jury award after Tudor took a contract job.

In the brief filed in support of Tudor, we support the argument that Title VII does not permit courts to penalize workers who take inferior, non-comparable employment out of financial necessity by then cutting off the time period for front-pay awards.

We continue to support Dr. Tudor and her courageous fight for transgender rights in the workplace.

Here in Pennsylvania, we currently do not have a state law explicitly banning discrimination of LGBTQ+ people,

We continue to call on the Pennsylvania Legislature to pass the Pennsylvania Fairness Act (HB 1404) Sponsored by Rep. Dan Frankel, the PA Fairness Act would add LGBTQ+ protections to the state’s Human Relations Act.

The PA Fairness Act has been proposed for at least a decade, but the effort has repeatedly been blocked from advancing by the Legislature’s leadership.

The Women’s Law Project is a public interest law center in Pennsylvania devoted to advancing and defending the rights of women, girls, and LGBTQ+ people in Pennsylvania and beyond.

November 2020: Our physical offices are still closed due to the pandemic but we are OPEN and working to serve your needs. Contact us here. Sign up for WLP’s Action Alerts. Stay up to date by following us on twitter,  Facebook, and Instagram. 

THE MASKED BALL: Our annual Philadelphia gala is on November 20! Please join us for this virtual celebration to support gender justice in Pennsylvania. Information & registration here.

The post Transgender Rights Case Back in Court During Trans Awareness Week first appeared on Women's Law Project.

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