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Transgender professor accuses school of workplace discrimination

Achieving tenure in Texas and across the country is an achievement that leads to job security for teachers and professors. Denying people tenure who have worked hard for that right based on workplace discrimination is illegal and unethical. A transgender professor in another state claims that she was denied tenure and made to endure a hostile work environment after she changed her gender identity.

The professor was a male when initially hired by the university in 2004. In 2007, she had changed her identity to female and began presenting herself as such. According to the Department of Justice, she had positive reviews from the department chair and other established faculty members, but she was still denied tenure for the 2009-2010 academic year. Furthermore, when the plaintiff filed a complaint about her rejection, she was met with retaliation and not allowed to apply again. She allegedly was also not able to reapply, even though university policy states that faculty can do so.

The plaintiff claims that she also met with a hostile work environment after her transition. For approximately four years, the plaintiff was forced to use a universal single-stall bathroom for the disabled that was farther away from her office. She was also allegedly advised not to wear skirts and not permitted to utilize the health insurance provided by the university.

The professor could no longer tolerate the hostility and the workplace discrimination and had a federal lawsuit filed on her behalf by the DOJ accusing the university of denying her tenure because of her gender identity and sexual harassment. Aggrieved Texas workers who feel that they are the victims of discrimination due to any protected status can choose to file claims against their employers. Based upon evidence of discrimination, the claimants may be awarded monetary damages, as well as any other financial relief awarded by the court.

Source: bna.com, "Harassment Claim Based on 'Presented Gender' OK'd", Patrick Dorrian, July 14, 2015

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