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Trans

Trans woman fired after coworkers deadnamed her and drew a penis on her bathroom door

Josh Milton October 31, 2019
Diane Roberts faced 18 months of constant anti-trans harassment. Now she's fighting back. (Screen capture via YouTube)

Diane Roberts faced 18 months of constant anti-trans harassment. Now she's fighting back. (Screen capture via YouTube)

Forced to use a filthy bathroom vandalised with a penis on the door while being deadnamed and misgendered at work.

This was the life a trans woman in New Mexico suffered through for 18 months before losing her job, according to a damning court documents.

Diane Roberts is suing her former employer, ABF Freight Inc, for alleged discrimination, harassment and for firing her.

The abuse she faced bubbled so intensively that she now suffers PTSD and hasn’t been able to work since due to the “devastating” treatment she faced.

She filed a complaint with the Human Rights Bureau of the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, according to a ACLU.

The bureau said she has “probably cause” for a discrimination claim, and has since submitted a civil claim to the courts.

‘Treated like I had the plague’: Trans employee suffered tirade of anti-trans discrimination 

In an interview with KRQE, Roberts detailed the abuse she has faced.

“I went from being the person everybody came to when they had a problem to being treated like I had the plague,” she said.

Before she lost her job, Roberts suffered waves of anti-trans discrimination against her. Court filings showed that she was forced to use a bathroom vandalised with a penis on the door.

She started as a diesel technician at the carrier company in May 2013 and informed ABF Freights Human Resources team as well as her manager that she was planning to undergo gender-affirmation surgery.

At the time, no other women worked at the facility. As a result, the building lacked bathrooms and locker rooms for women.

Roberts suggested that the downstairs bathroom be converted to accommodate her gender. Moreover, she asked for female uniform and for days off at the start of February 2016.

During this time, management were set to inform staff of her transition, pronouns and other anti-harassment and discrimination protocols.

Many of this is covered in resources by the Transgender Resource Centre of New Mexico.

However, Roberts claimed that the company certainly did agree to the conditions, they failed to follow through with any of them.

Not only did ABF Freights Inc fail to contact the centre, Roberts claimed, but supervisors misgendered and deadnamed her and provided no uniform or single-sex facilities in accordance to her gender identity.

Instead, they made the downstairs bathroom gender-neutral, allowing male coworkers to use it as well.

Male supervisor deadnamed trans woman while coworkers tormented her, says claim.

Even when the company built a women’s changing rooms, it was simply an unlocked, partitioned area close to her male coworkers.

With its open walls, men would routinely peek at her while Roberts changed. She was also left with limited facilities, such as the room having no shower or sink.

Furthermore, staff would blast anti-trans radio shows when she was nearby by, she claimed.

Transgender Flag
Transgender Flag (Getty Images)

During hot days, she was ordered to keep her work uniform fully buttoned in accordance to dress codes despite male employees being able to unbutton their own. Yet she was never given a copy of the policy.

When Roberts returned to work, she encountered a torrent of abuse. Staff reportedly sketched a penis on the bathroom door, covered its door knob in engine grease and glued its light switch in the off position.

Bullying became so intense, she was forced to take medical leave. 

Staff regularly tore air fresheners off the wall in the bathroom and left pungent things in the trash can. Others glued her toolbox shut and refused to work alongside her in repair bays.

As the situation reached boiling point, an embattled Roberts sought support from her supervisor. However, he referred to her as “sir” and her deadname during exchanges, she alleged.

He also gave Roberts an ID card with both her deadname and an outdated picture of her on it.

The harassment proved too much for Roberts, who was forced to miss work due to stress. Her supervisor refused to accept copies of doctors notes and demanded the originals.

As tensions flared between employees and management. Roberts was eventually fired.

“They terminated me from the company. They basically haven’t given us a good explanation for why they fired me,” Roberts said.

She said she wants “to do everything I can to see that this doesn’t happen to anybody else because it’s devastating.”

PinkNews has contacted ABF Freight Inc for comment.

More: Law, New Mexico, workplace discrimination

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