(Washington) A federal judge has ruled that the Library of Congress illegally discriminated against a Special Forces veteran when she was denied a job after announcing her intention to transition from male to female.
Diane Schroer of Alexandria, Virginia was awarded nearly $500,000 in damages.
In what is seen as a groundbreaking decision, U.S. District Judge James Robinson ruled that discriminating against someone for changing genders is sex discrimination under federal law.
After retiring from the military, Schroer, who had been hand-picked to head up a classified national security operation while serving as a Special Forces officer, applied for a position with the Library of Congress as the senior terrorism research analyst.
A short time later she was offered the job, which she accepted immediately.
Prior to starting work, Schroer took her future boss to lunch to explain that she was in the process of transitioning and thought it would be easier for everyone if she simply started work presenting as female.
The following day, Schroer received a call from her future boss rescinding the offer, telling her that she wasn’t a “good fit” for the Library of Congress.
The ACLU filed the lawsuit against the Library of Congress on June 2, 2005.
The lawsuit charged that the Library of Congress unlawfully refused to hire Schroer in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which protects against sex discrimination in the workplace.
The Library of Congress moved to dismiss the case several times, claiming that transgender people are not covered under the 1964 law.
In his ruling, Robinson ordered the government to pay Schroer 491,190 in back pay and damages.
The suit was fought during the Bush administration. It is considered unlikely the Obama administration will appeal.