Our legal team is proud to announce that attorney, Neelima Vanguri, has become the first to argue that an employer can violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when they deny a transgender person the right to use a bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. A federal judge recently approved the use of this brilliant theory. Although the case was settled confidentially, the ruling will certainly be considered by other courts throughout the country when dealing with similar issues.
As we celebrate this victory for transgender rights, we recognize that this was no easy task to take on. When you are the first to assert a claim, you do not have other claims or briefs to draw from. Perhaps the biggest challenge was figuring out how to assert this issue.
Ms. Vanguri’s client, a transgender woman, had endured discrimination and harassment at work because of her gender dysphoria, which is a condition that causes a person to identify with a gender that is different than their birth gender. The condition causes psychological distress. However, the defendant, the transgender woman’s employer, argued that the ADA excluded certain categories, such as gender identity, and the claim should be dismissed. Our client challenged the constitutionality of that exclusion by reasoning that gender dysphoria is not just a person’s identification with a certain gender, but that it is also a debilitating condition that should be covered. Since the ADA covers disabling conditions, Ms. Vanguri argued that gender dysphoria is disabling in that it substantially limits a person’s major life activities.
Ms. Vanguri sees this as a life-changing victory. She knows that the chance to create civil rights is an extraordinary opportunity, and we could not be prouder of her.
Congratulations, Neelima Vanguri!