Transgender employee accuses college of discrimination

The United States Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Southeastern Oklahoma State University over violations of the Civil Rights Act. The lawsuit claims a transgender employee at the college was a victim of discrimination and retaliation.

The employee worked as an assistant professor at the college as a man. After the employee began presenting herself as a woman, she claims she was discriminated against after applying for a promotion.

According to the lawsuit, the employee performed well and applied for a tenured position as an associate professor at the college. The administration denied her application even though she had recommendations from the department chair and other tenured faculty. The lawsuit claims the employee's denied application was due to her "gender identity, gender transition and non-conformance with gender stereotypes."

In addition to the claims of discrimination, the lawsuit also states that the employee was a victim of retaliation after she filed a complaint after her application was denied. After she filed the complaint, the college did not allow her to reapply for a promotion.

To make matters worse, the college terminated the employee at the end of the school year since she was not a tenured professor.

This lawsuit is an example of the legal action employees can take if they believe they have been the victim of discrimination or retaliation. Transgender employees are protected from discrimination and retaliation in the workplace under Title VII.

Employees who have been discriminated against because of their gender, gender identity or sexual orientation may be able to file a lawsuit against their employer. Individuals should consult with an employment law attorney to discuss their specific issues.

Source: KFOR, "U.S. Justice Department files discrimination lawsuit against Oklahoma college," March 30, 2015