Sex. Gender. Employment Discrimination: One Woman's Successful Lawsuit against the Library of Congress Could Spell More Legal Victories for Transgender Employees across the Country

By Christensen, Jen | The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine), December 2, 2008 | Go to article overview

Sex. Gender. Employment Discrimination: One Woman's Successful Lawsuit against the Library of Congress Could Spell More Legal Victories for Transgender Employees across the Country


Christensen, Jen, The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)


DIANE SCHROER WAS OFFERED a job as a terrorism research analyst by the Library of Congress in December 2004--but she was known as David Schroer at the time. Yet when the decorated Army veteran told her would-be boss that she was about to undergo sex-reassignment surgery, the offer was revoked. Schroer sued, claiming sex discrimination. The library countered that workers like her enjoyed no such legal protection.

But on September 19 a federal district court in Washington, D.C., sided with Schroer, ruling that she was indeed discriminated against on the basis of sex-a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. It was the first time a transgender person had won a lawsuit on such grounds.

Predictably, the American Civil Liberties Union and Sharon McGowan of the ACLU's LGBT Project, who represented Schroer, were immediately inundated by press requests for quotes. But there were dozens of calls from employment lawyers and hiring managers too, seeking advice on what the landmark decision meant for them. To McGowan, the answer was obvious.

"This ruling says it's no longer acceptable to treat transgender workers like they're some kind of disposable goods you can just throw away," she says, adding that she expects to see fewer transgender employment discrimination cases as a result. The ruling will also affect cases already in the pipeline, says Cole Thaler, Lambda Legal's transgender rights attorney. "Now judges will have this case to rely on in making their decisions," he says.

In the past, courts had declined to extend Title VII protection to transgender employees, arguing that "sex" referred to biological men and women only, not those who changed or were changing their sex. But Judge James Robertson forcefully rebuked this reasoning in his opinion, saying that previous judges had "allowed their focus on the label 'transsexual' to blind them to the statutory language itself." He invoked the example of religion, which is also protected under Title VII.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"Imagine that an employee is fired because she converts from Christianity to Judaism," Robertson wrote. "Imagine too that her employer testified that he harbors no bias toward either Christians or Jews but only 'converts.' That would be a clear case of discrimination 'because of religion.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Sex. Gender. Employment Discrimination: One Woman's Successful Lawsuit against the Library of Congress Could Spell More Legal Victories for Transgender Employees across the Country
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.