US: Trans veteran wins landmark discrimination case against Army

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A transgender woman who was a civilian Army employee has won a historic court battle over discrimination claims.

Army veteran Tamara Lusardi – who is disabled – alleges that she was discriminated against while employed at the Army’s Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) in Alabama.

Ms Lusardi claims her superiors banned her from using female bathrooms, and continued to refer to her as ‘he’ and ‘sir’.

She filed a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel – who this week ruled that the Army “unlawfully discriminated against Ms Lusardi on the basis of gender identity”.

The report concluded that the abuse she suffered was “sufficiently frequent, pervasive, and humiliating to constitute discriminatory harassment”.

Ms Lusardi said: “I am so grateful that justice is finally being served.

“As a disabled veteran, I take great pride in my role protecting our soldiers from harm.

“Like anyone else, I just want the freedom to be myself at work. I hope my case and this decision will help other transgender people feel safe enough to bring their full authentic selves to work.

“This report makes clear that we don’t have to put up with being mistreated on the job just because of who we are.”

Transgender Law Center’s Legal Director Ilona Turner said: “The Office of Special Counsel’s report is groundbreaking in its conclusion that some of the most common forms of harassment faced by transgender people on the job should be recognized for what they are: unlawful discrimination.

“This decision makes clear that it’s not acceptable to deny a transgender employee access to the same restroom as everyone else, or keep calling her by her former name and pronoun for months after she transitions.

“It’s hurtful and stigmatizing, it’s discriminatory, and it violates federal law.

“We are grateful to the OSC’s staff for their thorough investigation, insightful analysis, and commitment to justice for Tamara and all transgender workers in the federal government.”

Transgender people are currently banned from active military service.