Apology and Settlement in Transgender Woman’s Employment Discrimination Lawsuit

Melanie Nathan | Oblogdeeoblogda | January 20, 2016.

Tuxedo Park, NY-  A federal judge in Minnesota has approved the settlement (click here) of a transgender employment discrimination lawsuit against Deluxe Financial Services, Inc., one of the nation’s largest check-printing companies, headquartered in Shoreview, MN. The suit was brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and Jillian Weiss and Ezra Young of the Law Office of Jillian T. Weiss, P.C., on behalf of Britney Austin, who alleged harassment and discrimination in her position as a call center employee at the Phoenix, Arizona office of Deluxe Corp. (That office has since closed.)

Ms. Austin alleges that in 2011 after she notified her employer of her upcoming gender transition, she was subjected to ongoing offensive slurs by managers and coworkers. The company also allegedly prohibited her from using restrooms consistent with her gender identity. In addition Deluxe Corp. failed to change her name and sex on company records on grounds that including sex reassignment surgery was required in order to make this record change; but the company denied her coverage of any medically necessary transgender health care, and denied her severance pay and COBRA benefits when Deluxe closed its Phoenix office and laid off its employees working at that location.

In its complaint the EEOC alleged that Deluxe Corp. violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by subjecting Ms. Austin to “a hostile work environment and disparate treatment because of her sex, including because Ms. Austin is a woman who is transgender…” Ms. Austin filed her own complaint adding that Deluxe’s health plan was discriminatory because it excluded all medically necessary care for gender dysphoria and also argued that she received “disparate treatment…  unlawful medical inquiries, and retaliation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).”

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