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Jury awards $1M+ to Oklahoma transgender woman in Title VII employment case
From news releases
2017-11-21

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From Freedom for All Americans: Jury Awards Over $1M to Oklahoma Transgender Woman in Title VII Employment Discrimination Case

OKLAHOMA — Today a jury out of the Western District of Oklahoma ruled in favor of Rachel Tudor [ files.eqcf.org/cases/w-d-okla-515-cv-00324-docket/ ] , a transgender woman who faced discrimination in her job as professor at a university . The case marks one of the first times in the U.S. that a jury has considered a case of anti-transgender employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on sex.

Tudor filed her suit against Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 2015, stating that she was denied a promotion for a tenured position of associate professor because she is a transgender woman. She was subsequently barred her from reapplying for tenure and promotion during the next cycle, and faced retaliation because she complained about the discrimination she faced.

"Today's news is a tremendous victory for Rachel and the many transgender people across America who face discrimination at work," said Masen Davis, CEO of Freedom for All Americans. "Across the country, courts are increasingly reaching the conclusion that sex and gender stereotyping is a form of sex discrimination and therefore illegal under Title VII. Employees should be judged solely on their work ethnic and performance — no one should fear being treated differently in the workplace because of who they are. We applaud Rachel's bravery for coming forward and we hope others who face discrimination are similarly brought to justice."

The case, Tudor v. Southeastern Oklahoma State University, was brought forward by private attorneys Ezra Young, Brittany M. Novotny, and Marie Eisela Galindo.

From Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund: TLDEF Applauds Oklahoma Jury's Verdict in Favor of Wrongfully Fired English Professor

New York, NY - Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund applauds an Oklahoma jury's verdict today in favor of an English professor who was fired from from her teaching job on the basis of her sex. Dr. Rachel Tudor was denied tenure and terminated from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Oklahoma in 2011 after she began living as a woman. 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.

"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. This is as true in Oklahoma as it is in California or New York, and a fair-minded Oklahoma jury agreed. We commend Dr. Tudor's attorneys for their incredible work on Dr. Tudor's behalf. Ezra Young of the Law Office of Ezra Young, Brittany Novotny of the National Litigation Law Group and Marie E. Galindo of The Galindo Law Firm, have worked tirelessly to achieve this victory. 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."

Executive Director Jillian Weiss, through her private law practice prior to her joining TLDEF, initially represented Dr. Tudor on her long road to justice, and brought the case with her to TLDEF. This included filing a complaint in federal court, defeating attempts to dismiss the case, and much of the discovery. She secured a favorable ruling for Dr. Tudor from U.S. District Court Judge Robin J. Cauthron. In July 2015, Judge Cauthron ruled that Title VII protects transgender people from sex discrimination. That decision green-lighted Tudor's case to move forward at that time.


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