Judge lets trans woman sue for discrimination under disabilities law
For the first time a judge has said a transgender woman can sue for discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
This comes despite that the Act specifically excludes transgender people from protection.
Kate Lynn Blatt has been allowed to sue her previous employer under the ADA by US District Judge Joseph Leeson.
Blatt uses her gender dysphoria as a basis for her lawsuit against the retail chain Cabela’s Inc.
Leeson, states that simply being transgender was not grounds for a case under the ADA, but Blatt’s gender dysphoria is enough.
Blatt says she was denied access to a women’s restroom and was forced to wear a nametag with her deadname.
The 36-year-old worked in the Hamburg, Pennsylvania branch of Cabela’s in 2006 and 2007.
She was sacked after allegedly threatening a co-worker’s child, which she denies took place.
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Leeson went on in his opinion to say that ADA should be used to give people with disabilities the option to pursue discrimination claims.
The ADA was introduced in 1990 and was seen as landmark legislation to protect those with disabilities.
The lawsuit, filed back in 2014, challenges a clause in the legislation which states that “disability” should not include “transsexualism”.
Philadelphia-based lawyer, Neelima Vanguri, representing Blatt, says that Leeson’s ruling will hopefully empower others to bring lawsuits under the ADA.
“I’m hopeful we will be able to expand civil rights for transgender people just a little,” she said.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of West Virginia ruled that anti-gay attacks do not constitute hate crimes.