Alabama nursing home settles employment discrimination case vs. transgender
In what could be the first successful resolution of a transgender employment discrimination claim against a private employer in Alabama, a nursing home company has agreed to settle after firing a woman for being transgender.
Summerford Nursing Home Inc., a privately-held nursing home company based in Falkville, Ala., has agreed to pay 28-year old Jessi Dye of Vinemont, Ala. an undisclosed financial settlement after the company let her go for being transgender. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit civil rights organization, filed a discrimination complaint on Dye’s behalf against the company with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) last March 2015.
A case of employment discrimination
Dye had been hired last fall by Summerford, but was fired on her first day on the job last November 2014 after company officials discovered she was transgender. A senior management official had questioned Dye, asking her about her sex, gender identity, and physical anatomy.
When Dye was told she was being fired, she asked if it was because she was transgender. The senior official said yes.
“I was looking forward to my new position and heartbroken when I was fired because of my gender and not my qualifications for the job,” Dye said.
“No one should be discriminated against and kept from employment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. I hope by taking a stand about what happened to me, it will help others in the LGBT community realize they have a right to equal treatment,” she said.
How to solve employment discrimination
The SPLC likewise said the nursing home will implement a workplace non-discrimination policy prohibiting sexual orientation and gender discrimination. Company personnel and the official who terminated Dye are also required to attend LGBT training provided by the SPLC.
“The nursing home has done the right thing by resolving this case short of federal litigation,” said Sam Wolfe, SPLC staff attorney.
“Good jobs are hard to come by in Alabama, and no one should lose her job simply because she is transgender or because of some other aspect of who she is that has no bearing on job performance,” Wolfe said.
Prior to this, the EEOC had ruled in favor of a transgender Army employee based in Huntsville earlier this year.
The EEOC had ruled last July that employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation went against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This ruling was based on a 2012 EEOC decision that prohibited employment discrimination because a person is transgender. (PR)