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Trans Employees Fight to Work in Georgia and Chicago

Trans Employees Fight to Work in Georgia and Chicago

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As one transgender woman wraps up a work discrimination case in Atlanta, another case opens for a transgender restaurant worker who was the subject of harassment and discrimination in Chicago.

Hamed Khan, a server at Harry Caray's Seventh Inning Stretch restaurant at Midway airport in Chicago claims that managers ignored offensive, aggressive comments directed at Khan from coworkers, according to Windy City Times. Khan, who was identified as male at birth, started working at the restaurant in 2002, but after a while, Khan began to appear more feminine. While the server does not use male or female pronouns, Khan now identifies as transgender and wanted to transition while working at Harry Caray's.

However, Khan reports receiving no support from the restaurant's managers and being subjected to transphobic and homophobic slurs from coworkers who faced no retribution for their actions. When Khan tried to speak to supervisors about the incidents, instead of helping their employee, the server says the supervisors instead found a way to fire Khan on a technicality.

Khan seeks $200,000 in damages from the restaurant's parent company, MAC One Midway LLC, plus lost wages and legal fees.

Meanwhile in Atlanta, a transgender woman is closer to getting her job back after she was fired from a legislative proofreading position in the Georgia General Assembly after disclosing that she wanted to transition from male to female. Vandy Beth Glenn was hired in 2005 in the office of legislative counsel. Later that year, her doctors recommended that she undergo transition surgery. In October 2007, when she told her supervisor, Sewell Brumby, that she was planning on making the transition, he made disparaging remarks before firing her.

With the help of Lambda Legal, Glenn filed the lawsuit in July 2008, claiming that her firing was a violation of the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause. Last year, a district court sided with Glenn, but the state appealed the case, which was heard by a federal appeals court December 1.

Federal appeals judge Rosemary Barkett wrote Tuesday that such discrimination is gender discrimination. "An individual cannot be punished because of his or her perceived gender-nonconformity," Barkett wrote. "Because these protections are afforded to everyone, they cannot be denied to a transgender individual. The nature of the discrimination is the same; it may differ in degree but not in kind."

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