Trans woman settles federal job-discrimination lawsuit

A Northampton County trans woman of color who claimed she was wrongfully discharged from her nursing assistant job at an Alzheimer’s patient-care facility has settled her federal antibias case.

News of the settlement was posted on the federal court docket last month. But terms of the settlement weren’t released and neither side would comment.

“Jane Doe” filed suit Sept. 18 against The Gardens for Memory Care at Easton, seeking an unspecified amount in damages and remedial measures at the facility. The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, who approved the settlement on May 15.

Easton, where the facility is located, is a city about 55 miles north of Philadelphia in Northampton County.

According to her 50-page lawsuit, Doe worked at The Gardens as a nursing assistant from April 2017 to September 2017. Coworkers allegedly harassed and misgendered her on a frequent basis, thus creating a hostile work environment.

A coworker allegedly expressed a belief that Doe would “go to hell,” if she didn’t ask God for forgiveness. Another co-worker allegedly expressed dismay that Doe “still had a dick,” according to the suit.

A supervisor would routinely misgender Doe verbally and in writing, despite Doe’s protest, according to the suit.

“[Doe] felt embarrassed and humiliated in front of the patients because [Doe’s] female appearance, use of female name, and female pronouns, did not correspond with [Doe’s] supervisor’s use of male name and male pronouns,” the suit alleged.

In June 2017, Doe filed a formal grievance with the facility’s human-resources department citing anti-trans mistreatment, but it was unclear whether an investigation was undertaken, according to the suit.

When Doe complained to senior officials in September 2017, she was terminated, without a clear reason for her termination given to her, according to the suit.

Doe alleged discrimination on the basis of race, gender, gender identity and disability. Her disability is gender dysphoria, according to her lawsuit. She also claimed retaliation for complaining about alleged mistreatment at the facility. Prior to the settlement, a  jury trial had been requested.

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Tim Cwiek has been writing for PGN since the 1970s. He holds a bachelor's degree in history from West Chester State University. In 2013, he received a Sigma Delta Chi Investigative Reporting Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for his reporting on the Nizah Morris case. Cwiek was the first reporter for an LGBT media outlet to win an award from that national organization. He's also received awards from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, the National Newspaper Association, and the Keystone Press.