Monday, June 5, 2017

Transgender employees may be entitled to protection from discrimination under the ADA - EMPLOYEE BENEFITS NEWS

by Caroline Hogan 
Originally published:  June 2, 2017

Of late, we have recently written quite a bit about the ever-changing legal landscape regarding protections for LGBTQ employees. Most of the authority we explored involved whether or not sexual orientation (as well as gender identity and expression) are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII).

Now, for the first time, a federal district court has ruled that a transgender employee may proceed with her discrimination claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While courts applying Title VII have held that sex discrimination prohibits anti-transgender discrimination in the workplace, this case is unique because it held that a transgender employee, with gender dysphoria, may also be protected by the federal disability law.

Kate Lynn Blatt, a transgender woman, claimed she was subjected to discrimination and harassment while working at a hunting and fishing retailer. She additionally claimed that the retailer terminated her employment in retaliation for complaining about her treatment. Ms. Blatt sued under both Title VII and the ADA, which protects employees with disabilities.