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Nursing home settles termination lawsuit with former transgender employee

September 11, 2015
by Nicole Stempak, Associate Editor
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Jessi Dye was fired her first day on the job after at her boss learned she was transgender.

"I was looking forward to my new position and heartbroken when I was fired because of my gender and not my qualifications for the job," Dye said in a statement issued by Sothern Poverty Law Center.

 The SPLC announced today the nursing home has agreed to settle a discrimination complaint, potentially the first successful resolution of a transgender employment claim against a private employer in Alabama. The SPLC filed a discrimination complaint on Dye’s behalf with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Dye will receive an undisclosed financial settlement from her former employer, Summerford Nursing Home Inc., a privately held nursing home company with 200 employees based in Falkville, Ala. The nursing home has agreed to implement a workplace nondiscrimination policy prohibiting sexual orientation and gender discrimination. Human resource personnel and the official who terminated Dye will attend LGBT training provided by the SPLC. As part of the settlement, the EEOC claim is resolved and the business does not admit to violating any law.

“The nursing home has done the right thing by resolving this case short of federal litigation,” said SPLC staff attorney Sam Wolfe in the statement. “Good jobs are hard to come by in Alabama, and no one should lose her job simply because she is transgender or because of some other aspect of who she is that has no bearing on job performance. ”

According to the original complaint, a senior management official called Dye to his office after a half day of new employee training back in 2014. The official asked her about her sex, gender identity and physical anatomy. When Dye said she was a transgender woman, the official asked how she expected to work with residents when she “looked one way” and was “another way” on paper. Dye was told she was terminated effective immediately and asked to leave the facility.