Arkansas Transgender Woman Can Sue Former Employer After Termination

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LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) — The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas ruled Tuesday (Aug. 15) that a transgender woman may sue her former employer for sex discrimination under federal law.

The court denied H&H Electric’s motion for summary judgement in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Patricia Dawson. Dawson is a transgender woman and licensed electrician in Arkansas, who claims she was fired by H&H Electric after she transitioned from male to female.

According to Dawson’s lawsuit, the transition was part of her treatment for gender dysphoria, a medical diagnosis give to individuals whose gender identity — their innate sense of being male or female — differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.

Dawson’s lawsuit states she was hired at H&H Electric as a registered electrical apprentice in 2008 and four years later had her name legally changed from Steven to Patricia. The lawsuit claims H&H Electric’s vice-president asked Patricia not to use her legal name or discuss her transition with other employees.

Eventually Dawson started wearing makeup and more feminine clothing to work, according to the lawsuit. Several days later, Dawson’s boss told her he had to let her go because she was too much of a distraction, the lawsuit states.

To read the lawsuit, click here.

In its request for summary judgement, H&H Electric argued transsexuals cannot claim protection under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because Title VII does not provide protected status based on sexual orientation. However, the judge’s order states that argument ignores Dawson’s “asserted theory of discrimination” — that she was fired because of her gender transition and her failure to conform to gender stereotypes — and her facts are sufficient to legally claim H&H Electric discriminated against her because of her sex, which is a violation of Title VII.

Since a judge denied H&H Electric’s motion for summary judgement, the case will proceed to a jury trial.

To read the judge’s order, click here.

29 comments

      • castle19

        Well Tammy, “it’ is a guy. When “it’ tries to tell us “it” is a girl, “it” becomes an “it”. And “it” is very confused.

      • Tammy Rainey (@Tammy_Beth)

        the only confusion afoot is among those who choose to be ignorant when the factual information is available, like yourself for instance. Willful ignorance is unfortunate but to be expected – however going beyond that and being reprehensible enough to dehumanize a person like that is not just ignorance – it reveals something considerably darker and more abusive.

      • castle19

        Tammy, Who’s factual information are you speaking of? Some sociologists or psychologists that, with an agenda in mind, has said, “Oh he’s decided to be a she.” “Perfectly normal” Until you can perform an operation or medical regimen that changes his chromosomes from XY to XX HE is still a HE no matter what you say of try to legislate. Get over it. Let “him/her” have their fun. Don’t expect people to make special provisions for them though.

      • castle19

        Why are you screwing up my log in.  I’ve posted several times with the same log in, now you won’t accept it. No trees were killed in the making of this email…however, a large number of electrons were horribly inconvenienced.

  • cecilfrank

    Like it or not, the majority of people see this as weird. This person was a representative of H&H Electric, and most people would not want it in their homes performing repairs, which will hurt business.

  • Never go full liberal

    Well it has begun. They won’t let me have a race card to throw out there but maybe I can get me one of those LBGT cards and start waving that around threatening people. So sad to see so many confused souls out there.

    • Tammy Rainey (@Tammy_Beth)

      the only “confused souls” are the ones that don’t bother to educate themselves and find some empathy for those people facing a different struggle than their own. Trans people are the least confused people (on the subject of their gender) you’ll ever meet because you have to be absolutely certain before you subject yourself to the many many abuses of the willfully ignorant crowd.

      • Never go full liberal

        I tell you what, when you have been by passed by for a promotion because you were a white straight male we can talk, I have been. How is that equal?? I was overly qualified but rather than risk friction I was overlooked. So yeah I have a problem with women, people of color and people with not normal sexual preference.

      • Tammy Rainey (@Tammy_Beth)

        Never, are you rational enough to realize that unrelated cases are…unrelated? More to the point, do you not comprehend that there is a direct and specific difference between being unjustly passed over for promotion (which, if it was only done for demographic reasons I agree was wrong) and being terminated from your job altogether? Particularly when it was openly declared to you why it happened rather than something that you may just assume was unjust without knowing all the facts?

        In any case, a person who says “something bad happened to me so why should I care if something bad happened to you” probably has bigger issues than getting a promotion or not.

      • Tammy Rainey (@Tammy_Beth)

        gogo – what I am or am not is irrelevant except in this respect – I’m someone who knows the facts and I’m someone who has no patience for the propagation of myths that literally hurt people, up to and including loss of life. You want to brag about the size of your….fish…fine, no problem. But spread lies that contribute to devastating people’s lives and I’m going to speak up.

  • arnold fudpucker

    So everyone else has to give up their liberties to accommodate this one wayward person. doesn’t seem quite right does it. My bet is this individual is out to get something for nothing!

    • digitalboy75

      I too am curious what liberties have to be given up in this situation. The right to be a bigot?
      I’m also confused how someone who had a successful career as an electrician, and wanted to continue that job is “out to get something for nothing”.
      There are also more claims in the lawsuit that were left out of this news article. The lawsuit alleges that her work on a jobsite was sabotaged, “which could have caused an electrical panel to explode and result in injury or death”. Her boss also did not want her to wear a bra, had objections to her wearing a blouse, and did not want her to use her legal name with employees or at the third party job site.

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