Former Conn. Police Officer Alleges Antitransgender Discrimination
A transgender police officer in Connecticut is alleging discrimination after being fired from the force last week.
Francesca Quaranta, 47, came out as transgender to her coworkers at the Middletown Police Department in 2012. She believes this set off a series of events that eventually led to her firing, she tells the Associated Press.
Quaranta alleges that the city, along with the police department, engaged in a number of discriminatory actions, including, she claims, the city's refusal to cover gender-confirming surgeries in its employee health insurance policies.
She also complained that the police department refused to let her wear a wig to work, citing departmental policy. Additionally, she believes that she received an unfair level of scrutiny of her job performance, singled out for harsher critique than were her fellow officers.
Quaranta alleges that she was not allowed to wear earrings to work, even though other female officers wore similar jewelry on a regular basis, and she says several of her colleagues once had an inappropriate discussion about her sexuality.
Last year a city doctor determined that Quaranta suffered from anxiety, depression, and paranoia, making her unfit for duty, and placed her on leave.
According to the city, officials were forced to terminate Quaranta after she rejected a number of attempts to return her to work following her administrative leave. Last week Middletown mayor Daniel Drew informed Quaranta that she had been fired after failing a fitness for duty evaluation and refusing a second evaluation.
“She has refused to avail herself of the opportunities we presented to get her back to work,” Drew told the AP. “So we have not been tolerant of any abuse of Officer Quaranta or anyone else.”
In addition to Quaranta’s failed fitness for duty exam, the city cited a December DUI arrest, which the city claims was not reported to her supervisors, though Quaranta says she reported the arrest to a supervisor within 48 hours as required by department policy.
Last year Quaranta filed a complaint with the state’s Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, which remains pending. She said she plans to file suit against the city and hopes to receive monetary compensation.
Watch a report about Quaranta's case below: