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Video game studio Valve hit with $3m transgender discrimination lawsuit

Nick Duffy May 25, 2016
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Video game studio Valve is facing a $3 million lawsuit after a former employee alleged they were discriminated against for being transgender.

The studio is known for producing hit games including Half-Life, Counter Strike and Portal.

A former translator – who cannot be named for legal reasons – filed the lawsuit with the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles in April.

The employee had been responsible for translating games into Spanish, but in 2012 informed her employers she would be transitioning to female.

The translator’s needs were accommodated and she was allowed to work from home during her recovery from gender transition surgery, but was reclassified an independent contractor.

She was terminated in January 2016, after a complaint about the “hostile work environment” – allegedly referring to the company’s practice of using unpaid translators in some areas.

The suit alleges that in addition to the workplace issue, “Plaintiff was terminated due to her transgender status”.

It adds: “While Defendants accommodated her at first, her direct supervisor referred to her in a derogatory fashion. He referred to Plaintiff as ‘it’ – which is highly offensive to a transgender person.

“The term ‘it’ dehumanizes transgender persons and the usage of such a term [by the supervisor] shows that he was biased against her and shows that her transgender status was another reason he decided to terminate her.

“The real reasons for termination are unlawful.”

The suit says that “actual, consequential, and incidental financial losses” were incurred, saying she was left with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Video game site Polygon states she is suing for “$1 million for general damages, $1 million for special damages, $150,000 for unpaid wages and penalties, and $1 million for loss of earnings”.

However, in its response filed this week, Valve denies all of the allegations – and calls for the case to be dismissed.

Related topics: Discrimination, lawsuit, LGBT, Trans, Transgender, US, Valve, video game, workplace

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