Saturday, March 24, 2007

Transgender City Manager Fired After Hearing

Stanton The news is not good for Steve Stanton, the former City Manager of Largo, Florida, who we wrote about previously (via Yahoo! News and AP):

City commissioners early Saturday finalized the firing of a city manager who is seeking a sex-change operation, despite pleas from dozens of impassioned supporters to save his job.

After a six-hour hearing, the commissioners decided to fire 48-year-old Steve Stanton after his announcement that he planned a new life as a woman. The move came after the commission voted 5-2 last month to suspend him with pay.

Commissioners contended Stanton was being fired because they lost confidence in him, not because he wants to be a woman.

"I think we're pretty well convinced," Commissioner Gay Gentry said. "You have to believe us, you have to trust us, it is not about transgenderism."

I, for one, do not trust Commissioner Gentry one iota.  In fact, although the city's legitimate non-discriminatory reason for firing Stanton appears to be that he bullied other employees (Jillian Weiss also points out that other articulated bases included issues of dishonesty, untrustworthiness and disruptiveness), such concerns only came to the fore after Stanton announced that he planned to go under gender reassignment surgery to become a woman in Summer 2008.   Also, prior to his announcement, Stanton received good performance reviews and a large raise in pay.  Seems like a pretty good pretext case based on just an initial analysis of the surrounding facts.

The City of Largo should hope that if Stanton decides to sue that transgenderism is not considered a form of sexual discrimination under federal or state law in Florida.

Finally, one resident of Largo had this to say at the Stanton hearing: "I don't want the city of Largo to be the poster child for bigotry and discrimination."

Too late.

PS

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/laborprof_blog/2007/03/transgender_cit.html

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Comments

"The City of Largo should hope that if Stanton decides to sue that transgenderism is not considered a form of sexual discrimination under federal or state law in Florida."

Too late. As I noted in my blog, there are three rulings from the Florida Commission on Human Relations holding that discrimination based on transsexuality is a violation of both the Florida Civil Rights Law and the Florida Government Employees Non-Discrimination Act. Each Act has a separate (but concurrent) remedy. Further, there are indications that the Eleventh Circuit might join with the Sixth Circuit in ruling that transgender discrimination is sex discrimination.

Most telling on this point, of course, is the fact that the City of Largo itself has a non-discrimination policy that explicitly includes "gender identity."

Jillian

Posted by: Jillian T. Weiss | Mar 24, 2007 1:38:01 PM

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