Trans woman sues Temple Health

A Philadelphia Trans woman has filed suit in federal court, alleging that Temple University Health System dismissed her as a dietary aide because she transitioned on the job.

On Jan. 10, Loren Chick of Mt. Airy filed suit, seeking more than $150,000 in damages. She claims Temple Health officials mistreated her on multiple occasions as she transitioned in the workplace. She worked for Temple Health from December 2019 to October 2020.

Temple Health dismissed her for allegedly being late to work, which Chick claims was a pretext to unlawfully fire her, according to her lawsuit.

Alleged mistreatment against Chick includes being repeatedly misgendered by supervisors and coworkers; being repeatedly referred to by a deadname by supervisors and coworkers; being prevented from using a gender-appropriate email address; and being prevented from wearing a gender-appropriate name badge and work uniform.

“On or about July 29, 2020, [Chick] began wearing braids to create the appearance of longer hair, at which time [a supervisor] stated ‘What is this? Is this permanent?” in a disparaging tone of voice — at which time [Chick] explained that she is a transgender woman,” the lawsuit asserts.

In September 2020, Chick began presenting herself as a female full-time. But a supervisor stated directly to Chick that he didn’t “support the decision” to transition.  “Following this statement, [Chick’s] hours were cut, and she began to be scheduled during more undesirable shifts,” the lawsuit alleges.

Conditions continued to deteriorate as Chick maintained her Trans identity.

“On or about September 21, 2020, [Chick] appeared at work wearing makeup and a different, shorter hairstyle, then came to work the following day with a different hairstyle, at which time [a supervisor] asked what was going on,” the lawsuit continues. “[Chick] explained again that she is transgender. And [the supervisor] asked if [Chick] was going to ‘keep going back and forth’ and that [Chick’s] behavior was ‘kind of confusing.’”

On Oct. 5, 2020, two weeks after that alleged conversation, Chick was fired for “lateness,” though such an allegation didn’t warrant dismissal pursuant to Temple Health’s own employment policies, according to the lawsuit.

Chick’s lawsuit alleges violations of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. The alleged violations include gender stereotyping, discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Her alleged damages include economic losses, emotional distress and “permanent diminution of earning power,” according to the lawsuit.

The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle 3d of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. A jury trial has been requested.

Temple Health operates several healthcare facilities in the region, including Temple Hospital, Jeanes Hospital, Northeastern Hospital, Episcopal Hospital and Fox Chase Cancer Center. Chick’s 18-page lawsuit doesn’t specify the facility to which she was assigned.

Neither side had a comment for this story.