Trans professor wins discrimination lawsuit against an Oklahoma university

Dr. Rachel Tudor. File photo.

by Rob Howard
Associate Editor

Dr. Rachel Tudor, who is transgender, won her lawsuit against Southeastern Oklahoma State University today in Federal District court in Oklahoma City.

In 2015 the Department of Justice brought a complaint against the school, and the Regional University System of Oklahoma, saying the school had terminated Dr. Tudor based on her gender, gender identity and gender expression, as well as in retaliation for making complaints of discrimination.

Dr. Tudor intervened in the lawsuit by bringing her own complaint on May 5, 2015. She included an additional claim for the hostile work environment to which she was subjected.

Today, a jury in the Western District of Oklahoma ruled that the university discriminated against Dr. Tudor on the basis of sex in violation of Title VII, a federal nondiscrimination law prohibiting sex discrimination. They returned a $1.165 million verdict.

For additional information about Dr. Tudor’s lawsuit, see EEOC finds “reasonable cause” in Oklahoma Transgender Professor’s case.

"We are thrilled that Dr. Tudor has finally achieved a measure of justice, after a years-long court battle against discrimination,” said TLDEF Executive Director Jillian Weiss. “This verdict sends a clear message. No one should ever be fired on the basis of sex.”

TLDEF is the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, which works to end discrimination and achieve equality for transgender people

“This is as true in Oklahoma as it is in California or New York, and a fair-minded Oklahoma jury agreed.

“It’s a huge win not only for Dr. Tudor, but also for all trans employees who deserve the same opportunity to work hard, earn a living and contribute to society. It is particularly poignant that this verdict was returned on the Transgender Day of Remembrance, when we honor those transgender people who have lost their lives due to prejudice.”

For nearly three decades, courts have been arguing over the definition of sex discrimination, which Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other statutes prohibit. The EEOC and several circuit courts of appeal have ruled that the term “sex” in Title VII of the act includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Trump administration’s Department of Justice has reversed itself on the matter. In October, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo that federal civil rights law does not protect transgender workers from employment discrimination.

Copyright The Gayly – November 20, 2017@ 2:25 p.m. CST.