A transgender woman has filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against the campaign of Governor of Illinois JB Pritzker.
Emma Todd worked as a field organiser for the JB for Governor Campaign in the run-up to the November 2018 gubernatorial election, but was dismissed in March 2018.
On January 18, she filed a federal lawsuit against Pritzker’s campaign, alleging she was dismissed on the basis of sex in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In a release, Todd’s attorneys allege that she came under heightened scrutiny after she was assigned a new supervisor in February of 2018.
Employee claims JB Pritzker campaign supervisor sacked her for being trans
Her co-workers allegedly witnessed the supervisor “making comments indicating that she viewed transgender identity in a prurient manner”, with the supervisor alleged to have described Todd as “the reason people don’t like transgender people.”
The former co-workers “have indicated they believe Ms. Todd was terminated because of her sex and gender,” the suit claims.
Emma Todd said: “I worked hard on this campaign and loved my job.
“I was blindsided by my termination. I wholeheartedly supported and voted for Governor JB Pritzker and Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton to end [former Governor] Bruce Rauner’s heartless administration.
“JB and Juliana will bring economic stability after more than two years without a state budget under Rauner. They will also protect services for underserved communities that Rauner has hurt.”
She added: “This lawsuit does not change my support for these highly qualified people.
“I am bringing this lawsuit because transgender people, like all Americans, deserve the same chance to earn a living, free from discrimination.”
Governor of Illinois JB Pritzker denied the discrimination claims
Attorney Jillian T. Weiss said: “Ms. Todd’s improper termination has caused her to suffer a loss of wages and out-of-pocket medical and insurance payments, as well as loss of reputation.
“The state of Illinois prohibits sex and gender identity discrimination and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and federal courts in the state have ruled that discrimination against a transgender person based on their sex is a violation of law.
“No one should ever be fired on the basis of sex. The JB Pritzker for Governor campaign must be held accountable for this workplace bias.”
Pritzker picked up 54.5% of the vote in November’s election, well ahead of incumbent anti-LGBT Republican Bruce Rauner on 38.8%.
A spokesperson for the Pritzker campaign told the Chicago Tribune: “Ms. Todd was fired for cause.
“She had a number of behavioral issues that she was reprimanded for throughout the course of the campaign.”