Glenn v. Brumby et. al.

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Status: Closed
Outcome:
Victory
Court:
United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
Issues: Employment and Rights in the Workplace, Transgender Rights

Federal lawsuit filed on behalf of a transgender woman fired from her job as a Legislative Editor after she stated her intention to live as a woman in accordance with her health care providers' recommendations.

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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.

Context

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.