Trans woman wins unfair dismissal case after being told to stop transition or leave

Joseph McCormick June 29, 2016
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A trans woman will be paid nearly $20,000 by her former employer, a barber shop, after she was told to keep working as male or she would be sacked.

Dakota Hemmingson said she was told by her boss at the barber shop in New Zealand, that she could not transition and keep her job.


But the Employment Relations Authority ruled in Hemmingson’s favour, saying she was unfairly dismissed over a year ago.

The case is believed to be a landmark in New Zealand, as no ruling the same is believed to have come before it.

Hemmingson said: “It’s good to feel authentic and feel honest to myself,” adding: “It’s just the beginning of something bigger and I’m so proud to be a part of this.”

The barber hopes her ruling will be used as precedent in other employment discrimination cases.

She also says the effect that the entire process has had on her has been huge, and that she has attempted suicide.

Of attitudes towards trans people in New Zealand, she says: “It’s amazing how little people know about transgender people.”

Posting on Facebook after her story broke, Hemmingson wrote: “Wow just wow. I cant express how grateful I am for all the support. Getting here has been the hardest thing I’m still dealing with so much emotion but I want to say a few things

“This is not only a win for me but for the LGBT community and especially the Transgender community.

“This shows that we are protected from Discrimination and Transphobia in the workplace in New Zealand.
The one main thing I wanted from this was to fight for everyone who never had the chance, everyone who had to settle and remain silent and for anyone who has ever faced discrimination.

“We as the country of New Zealand have to take a stand and stand together to show the world discrimination and hate will not win. We need to lead the way and make our voices heard.

“For anyone going through anything of a similar value, or to anybody who faces inequality. We are here for you, I am here for you.”

Earlier this year a trans man army sergeant in the US said he would sue a barbers which refused to cut his hair for “religious reasons”.

More: New Zealand, New Zealand, Trans

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