A worker at a New York restaurant who was allegedly fired because he was a transsexual has been told he can pursue a discrimination claim under the state’s human rights law.

Justice Joan Lefkowitz held that although discrimination against a transgender person is not specifically listed in the law it is covered nonetheless, WCBS channel 2 in New York reports.

Eric Buffong, who was born Erica Buffong, said he was harassed at work and then fired after a colleague came to work taunting him with a high school yearbook photo of Buffong as a woman.

“Prior to that I was the chef’s No. 1 guy. Just because I was born a female and I chose to be a male, it’s a problem now?” Mr Buffong, 27, asked The New York Daily News.

Now, in a landmark ruling, a judge told Mr Buffong he can go forward with his $3 million lawsuit against

Tarrytown’s Castle on the Hudson, which houses the five-star restaurant Equus, where Buffong worked. Castle on the Hudson, the hotel that houses Equus, asked the judge to dismiss the case, reports WCBS.

New York City’s human rights law does cover transgender people who identify as a different sex than the one they were born. Mr Buffong, who changed his sex seven years ago, said he never had to explain himself because he lived as a male, the Daily News reports.

“It’s one of the first cases that outright decides that transgender and transsexual individuals are protected,” said Mr Buffong’s attorney, Melissa Holtzer, told the Daily News.

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