Vandy Beth Glenn continues to rack up legal wins in her ongoing discrimination case against the Georgia General Assembly and her transphobic supervisor Sewell Brumby.
She got a major one in the Glenn v. Brumby case yesterday as a three judge panel of the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta (that included former anti-gay Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor) issued a unanimous ruling yesterday in favor of upholding Glenn’s July 2010 lower federal court legal win just five days after hearing arguments in the December 1 appeal.
Judge Pryor even suggested along with Judge Rosemary Barkett during the appeal arguments that transpeople may be a protected class.
The 11th Circuit covers the states of Georgia, Florida and Alabama and in case you’re wondering which presidents appointed the judges that heard this case, Pryor was a G.W. Bush appointee, Barkett was appointed by Clinton, and Kravitch by Carter.
Elections matter people. But back to the wonderful legal news.
The court said that discrimination against a transgender person based on
gender-nonconformity is sex discrimination and it upheld a lower-court
ruling that Glenn’s firing was based on sex discrimination.
Judge Rosemary Barkett writing for the unanimous three-judge federal panel,
which included Judge William Pryor and Senior Judge Phyllis Kravitch,
said, “An individual cannot be punished because of his or her perceived
gender-nonconformity. Because these protections are afforded to
everyone, they cannot be denied to a transgender individual. . . . A
person is defined as transgender precisely because of the perception
that his or her behavior transgresses gender stereotypes.”
The decision goes on to read: “We conclude that a government agent
violates the Equal Protection Clause’s prohibition on sex-based
discrimination when he or she fires a transgender or transsexual
employee because of his or her gender non-conformity.”
Wow. Lambda Legal, who filed the original lawsuit on behalf of Glenn, said in their response to the unanimous legal victory
“The court could not have been more clear: It is unfair and illegal
to fire a transgender employees because their appearance or behavior
transgress gender stereotypes,” said Greg Nevins, Supervising Senior
Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal’s Southern Regional Office in Atlanta.
“Employers should take note of this important ruling.”
“The law is on our side, but everyone shouldn’t need a lawyer to help
them fight workplace discrimination. Congress must pass the Employment
Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) because we still need a federal law to tell
employers unequivocally that discrimination against LGBT employees in
the workplace is illegal. We are proud of Vandy Beth for standing up for
her rights—her courage has helped clear the path for others.”
And may have given us a landmark trans legal rights victory in the process.