Transgender Worker Prevails Against GA Gen'l Assembly
The United State District Court for the Northern District of Georgia has ruled that the Georgia General Assembly violated the United States Constitution when it fired Vandy Beth Glenn from her job as a Legislative Editor because she planned to transition from male to female.
Congratulations to Vandy Beth and Lambda Legal, which represented her in her suit against the General Assembly. Before being fired, Vandy Beth worked for two years in the Office of Legislative Counsel. In 2007, she told her immediate supervisors that she was planning to transition. They promptly fired her.
As a government employer, the Georgia General Assembly was subject to federal constitutional limitations on its ability to discriminate. The Court found that Georgia General Assembly officials violated the Constitution and discriminated against Vandy Beth by terminating her for failing to conform to gender stereotypes. The Court rejected Vandy Beth's second Equal Protection claim that she was discriminated against on the basis of her medical condition.
This is an important victory for transgender people, who face tremendous discrimination in the workplace and often lack adequate remedies for that discrimination. According to a recent survey by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, 47% of transgender people report being fired, or denied a job or promotion, just because of who they are.
Few protections exist for transgender people who experience employment discrimination. In 38 states, there is no law protecting transgender people from being fired because of who they are. Federal law similarly offers little in the way of job protection for transgender people.