Denver Automotive Services Shop Retracted Job Offer When It Discovered Applicant Was Transgender, Federal Agency Charges
DENVER - A&E Tire, Inc., a Colorado chain of automotive service shops, violated federal law by retracting a job offer and refusing to hire a male applicant once it was discovered that he was transgender, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Egan Woodward applied for a services manager position at A&E Tire's Denver location, and after his interview he was offered the position pending a drug test and background check. The application and background screening paperwork used by A&E Tire asked Woodward for his sex and for any other names he used in the past. In completing the application and paperwork, Woodward identified his assigned sex at birth and indicated he used another name typically associated with the female sex in the past.
Less than an hour after A&E Tire extended Woodward a job offer, he received a call from a manager asking him if there were a mistake in his paperwork, the EEOC said. When Woodward stated there was not, A&E never got back to him about completing the screenings or a start date and ultimately hired someone else for the position, the agency said.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, including transgender status and sex-based stereotypes. The EEOC filed its lawsuit, EEOC v. A&E Tire, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:17cv-02362-STV, in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado after first attempting to reach a settlement through its pre-litigation conciliation process. The lawsuit seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, as well as appropriate injunctive relief to prevent similar such discriminatory practices in the future.
The lawsuit announced today is part of the EEOC's ongoing efforts to implement its Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP), which it renewed in 2016. The SEP includes "[p]rotecting lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) people from discrimination based on sex" as a Commission enforcement priority.
"Despite the significant legal and cultural progress we have made as a country in recent years respecting the rights of transgender workers, a lot of work remains to be done in rooting out stereotypes and prejudice," said the regional attorney for the EEOC's Phoenix District Office, Mary O'Neill.
Elizabeth Cadle, district director for the Phoenix District Office, said, "Transgender individuals want to work and give to the economy, sharing their skills and ideas just like anyone else. They should not be deprived of the right and ability to do so just because of unfounded fears, misconceptions, and biases."
EEOC's Phoenix District Office has jurisdiction for Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and part of New Mexico (including Albuquerque).
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, including failure to hire based on sex. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.