HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Army officials discriminated against a transgender employee who underwent a sex change while working at an Alabama installation, restricting her from the women’s restroom and using her male name despite her preference to be referred to as a woman, a federal investigation found.
Tamara Lusardi, of Huntsville, suffered gender identity discrimination as she transitioned from male to female in 2010, the Office of Special Counsel said in a statement Thursday.
Lusardi was working as a civilian software quality assurance specialist at the Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center at the time.
The review said a supervisor referred to Lusardi as “sir” or “he” and used her male name. The repeated acts were “sufficiently frequent, pervasive, and humiliating to constitute discriminatory harassment,” the statement said.
Lusardi was represented by the California-based Transgender Law Center, which called the ruling groundbreaking.
“This decision makes clear that it’s not acceptable to deny a transgender employee access to the same restroom as everyone else, or keep calling her by her former name and pronoun for months after she transitions,” center legal director Ilona Turner said in a statement.
Lusardi said justice was served.
“Like anyone else, I just want the freedom to be myself at work,” she said in a statement released by the law center. “I hope my case and this decision will help other transgender people feel safe enough to bring their full authentic selves to work.”
The Office of Special Counsel said the Army has agreed to train workers to prevent future discrimination. It did not recommend any back pay or other monetary compensation for Lusardi.(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)