Transgender lawsuit

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Transgender professor wins $1M in federal discrimination case

The case took 6 years.


Kris Seavers


Posted on Nov 20, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 10:31 am CDT

A federal jury on Monday awarded former Southeastern Oklahoma State University professor Rachel Tudor with $1,165,000 in a discrimination case that has lasted since 2011.

BuzzFeed News reported the win, saying the decision was “unusual” because transgender plaintiffs rarely have success with federal discrimination claims.  

“I’m thrilled that Dr. Tudor has finally achieved some justice,” Jillian T. Weiss, an attorney who represented Tudor in one portion of the lawsuit, told BuzzFeed News. “But it’s unfortunate that it took so many years of her life and caused her so much pain.”

In its verdict, the U.S. District Court jury in Western Oklahoma “found Tudor had proven by a preponderance of the evidence that she was denied tenure because of her gender, and denied a chance to re-apply due to her past complaints about workplace discrimination,” BuzzFeed News reported.

However, the jury did not agree with Tudor that she had endured a hostile work environment.

In 2010, Tudor brought a case to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, saying the university and the Regional University System of Oklahoma discriminated against her for being transgender, policed her clothing, and limited her to one bathroom on campus.

Although the commission concluded that Tudor had a valid claim, a series of volleying policy changes delayed the case in the courts for six years.

Despite the setbacks, Tudor continued building her case with attorney Ezra Young, and on Monday the jury finally made a decision in her favor.

“We can win even when the government is not recognizing our rights—we can take on the U.S. government, and take on state governments, and we can win,” Weiss said. “Transgender people are protected from discrimination and employers should take notice, whether the government is on your side or not.”

H/T BuzzFeed News

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*First Published: Nov 20, 2017, 7:50 pm CST