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Judge Awards 55K to Harassed Trans Worker

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The New York State Thruway Authority has been ordered to pay a transgender woman more than $55,000 in damages after a judge ruled she had endured a hostile work environment.

Mackenzie Valentine worked for the Thruway Authority in Albany, and was harassed by her coworkers who called her a "drag queen" and a "freak." Her coworkers, when they found out about her former identity as Matthew Valentine, used state computers to view information about her, according to the Times-Union newspaper in Albany.

Valentine underwent court-sanctioned gender reassignment surgery and requested the state change her name on official documents in July 2006.

The compensation includes $5,177 in back wages, with 9% interest, and $50,000 in damages.

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