U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Higher Education Technology Services Company Unlawfully Removed Employee From Her Position After She Revealed her Gender Transition
MINNEAPOLIS -- Ellucian, a higher education technology services company with operations in Minnesota, has agreed to pay $140,000 and provide significant non-monetary relief to resolve a finding of discrimination by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
An investigation by EEOC's Minneapolis Area Office revealed that Ellucian barred the employee from access to her workplace on a college campus the day after she informed her co-workers she planned to transition from male to female. The college asked Ellucian, which was performing contracted informational technology work for the college, to remove the employee from their campus, and Ellucian complied with the college's request.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, including bias based on transgender status, gender stereotyping and subjecting an employee to different terms and conditions and/or a hostile work environment because of sex.
EEOC's recent work on sex discrimination on the basis of transgender status and sex stereotyping goes back four years, when the Commission issued an opinion in Macy v. Dep't of Justice, EEOC Appeal No. 0120120821, 2012 WL 1435995 (April 20, 2012), in which EEOC ruled that employment discrimination against employees because they are transgender is sex discrimination which violates Title VII. Since that time, EEOC has focused on protecting transgender individuals as a strategic enforcement priority and has resolved several potential charges and lawsuits.
"We appreciate that Ellucian worked cooperatively with EEOC to resolve this charge without having to go through protracted litigation," said Julianne Bowman, district director of the EEOC's Chicago District. "As a result of this agreement, Ellucian is helping to lead the way for transgender employees to enjoy equal rights in the workplace in Minnesota."
In addition to paying $140,000 to the employee, the conciliation agreement requires Ellucian to modify its code of conduct to include gender identity as a protected basis in its anti-discrimination provisions and distribute the new code of conduct to all employees. It will also provide training for all of its employees in the U.S. on gender identity discrimination, with additional training and coaching for all personnel who may receive removal requests from clients. Ellucian will report all removal requests made by clients to EEOC for the next three years.
EEOC's Minneapolis Area Office is part of the Chicago District, which has jurisdiction over Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota. EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the agency can be found on its website at www.eeoc.gov.