Glenn v. Brumby et. al.
Vandy Beth Glenn worked for two years in the General Assembly’s Office of Legislative Counsel as an editor and proofreader of bill language. Glenn loved her job but privately struggled through years of unrelenting distress as a male. She was diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder (GID), a serious medical condition, and she prepared to undergo a course of professionally guided treatment that included gender transition. In 2007, Glenn informed her immediate supervisor, Beth Yinger, that she planned to proceed with her transition from male to female. Yinger passed the information on to the General Assembly’s Legislative Counsel, Sewell Brumby, who is the head of the office in which Glenn worked. After confirming that Glenn intended to transition, Brumby fired her on the spot. On July 22, 2008, Lambda Legal brought a federal lawsuit against Georgia General Assembly officials on behalf of Glenn, asserting that her firing violated the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee because it treated her differently due to the nonconformity with gender stereotypes that she evidenced by her determination to live in accordance with her female gender identity. In addition, General Assembly officials disregarded Glenn’s GID and her needed treatment—also an equal protection violation.
There is no federal law explicitly prohibiting discrimination against transgender people in employment, although many courts have held that transgender employees are protected under sex discrimination laws. While a growing number of cities, counties and employers prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression, transgender people remain disproportionately vulnerable to discrimination because of widespread bias and lack of understanding of the law of sex discrimination.
Lambda Legal's Impact
Lambda Legal is developing models to help employers become more aware of transgender issues and adopt inclusive and nondiscriminatory policies and practices. A victory in Glenn would send a clear message to employers that discrimination against transgender employees will not be tolerated.
- July 2008 Lambda Legal files federal lawsuit in Georgia court.
- October 2008 Defendants file motion to dismiss.
- June 2009 The Court denies the defendants' motion to dismiss; the case moves forward.
- July 2010 Court rules in favor of Vandy Beth Glenn. Remedy hearing scheduled.
- August 2010 Court orders Glenn be reinstated in her job. Parties agree that for the duration of the appeal to the Eleventh Circuit, Glenn will receive full salary and benefits in lieu of returning to work.
- February 2011 Lambda Legal files papers in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals defending the lower court's ruling that Vandy Beth Glenn suffered sex discrimination.
December 1, 2011 Eleventh Circuit Court hears oral argument.
December 6, 2011 Victory! Eleventh Circuit upholds lower court ruling that the Georgia General Assembly discriminated against Glenn.
Vandy Beth Glenn
Cole Thaler, Gregory R. Nevins, M. Dru Levasseur