Transgender Discrimination Claim and Award Upheld

In Matter of Advanced Recovery, Inc. v. Fuller, 2018 NY Slip Op 03974 (2d Dept. June 6, 2018), the court confirmed an April 2015 determination of the New York State Division of Human Rights (SDHR) finding that the complainant – a woman who was born a man, and who was diagnosed with gender dysphoria – suffered discrimination.

While the 2d Department’s decision does not provide much in the way of factual detail, the SDHR’s decision (excerpt below) does.

Respondents have asserted that the primary reason for the termination of Complainant’s employment was because she misappropriated the money Respondents gave her to purchase torch gas by using it to purchase heating oil for her home.

However, even though Complainant admittedly used the torch gas money for an unauthorized purpose, the record establishes that this reason is a pretext for unlawful discrimination. On or before July 22, 2010, Respondents were aware that Complainant had used the torch gas money to purchase heating oil for her home. Respondents recovered the torch gas money by docking Complainant’s July 22 paycheck. However, they did not terminate Complainant’s employment at that time. Complainant continued to work for Respondents for another two weeks until she presented Respondents with the court order changing her legal name to Erin Fuller. On the very day that Complainant presented this document to Respondents, Rea terminated her employment and told her that he was terminating her employment because he had “a problem with [her] condition.”

The appellate court found that there is “substantial evidence in the record to support the SDHR’s determination that the complainant established a prima facie case of discrimination, and that the petitioners’ proffered reasons for terminating the complainant’s employment were a pretext for unlawful discrimination.”

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