Woman Who Was Fired After Undergoing Sex Change Wins Claim For Sex Discrimination In Glenn v. Brumby

A woman who underwent a sex change has recently won a transgender sex discrimination case. In Glenn v. Brumby, a federal appeals court in Atlanta reviewed whether a former editor in the Georgia General Assembly’s Office of Legislative counsel had a claim for sexual discrimination after she was fired following the announcement of her intent to transition from male to female and begin presenting as a female at work.

In Brumby, Vandiver Elizabeth Glenn was born a male, and was diagnosed with gender identity disorder. As part of the process of transitioning from male to female, she was required to live as a woman outside of the workplace prior to undergoing sex reassignment surgery. From the beginning, her supervisor made it clear that he was uncomfortable with the transition. When Glenn dressed as a woman on Halloween she was asked to leave the office. She then told a supervisor that she planned to change her name and begin presenting as a woman at work. Her supervisor then relayed this information to Brumby who subsequently fired Glenn, claiming that the gender transition was “inappropriate” and would be “disruptive.” Brumby also claimed that the transition would make some co-workers uncomfortable.

Whether a particular action constitutes sex discrimination varies on a case-by-case basis. If you believe you have been subject of sex discrimination at work, it is always advisable to speak to an experienced sex discrimination attorney to review your particular circumstance and determine your next steps.

However, much case law supports a finding that discrimination based on gender stereotyping constitutes sex discrimination. This applies to situations where employers discriminate against transgender people due to “gender stereotyping.” Here, Brumby’s choice to fire Glenn was based on his perception or her as “a man dressed as a woman and made up as a woman” and on the fact that she was going through a gender transition. These facts supported a finding that Glenn was terminated based on “gender nonconformity.”

Any time a person is subjected to an adverse employment action because of or based on their gender – whether male, female or transgender – they may be able to bring a claim for sex discrimination.

For more information or to answer your questions about sex discrimination, contact the dedicated Atlanta sex discrimination lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.