In a Landmark decision, U.S. District Judge Joseph F. Leeson denied Cabela’s motion to dismiss Kate Lynn Blatt’s Americans with Disabilities Act claims in Civil Action No 5:14-cv-04822, filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Blatt, a former employee of the outdoors retailer, alleges that she was discriminated against due to the fact that she is transgender. She alleges that Cabela’s employees subjected her to a cycle of abuse and antagonism when she worked as a seasonal stocker in 2006 and 2007. Blatt’s suit alleges that she faced abuse from superiors and coworkers alike, and that she was forced to use the men’s restroom and wear a nametag that displayed her birth name, despite legally having her name changed in Pennsylvania.
In its opinion, the Court recognized that the experience of having gender dysphoria can cause clinically significant distress. And, when it does, there is no principled reason for excluding transgender people from securing protections under the Americans with Disability Act afforded to all others who face discrimination because of a stigmatized medical condition.
At press time, Neelima Vanguri and Sidney L. Gold, Blatt’s attorneys from Sidney L. Gold & Associates, acknowledged this case’s potential to be cited nationwide, stating that “this is the first case in the country to allow a transgender person to pursue a claim under the ADA. This is an important outcome that lays a foundation for transgender people to pursue broad civil rights protections across a range of areas including both in employment and public accommodations.” When asked how employers can be more inclusive to trans rights in the workplace, Attorney Vanguri stated that “If somebody is doing their job and doing it well, their gender or gender identity should not matter. They should be free of a workplace wherein they experience discrimination.”
For more information on this case and how to defend your rights in the workplace, contact the Philadelphia employment law firm of Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. at 215-569-1999 or submit an online inquiry.