This week, former Middletown, Conn., police officer Francesca Quaranta filed a lawsuit against her town, mayor, and its senior police officials alleging that she was wrongfully fired last year for being transgender, reports Reuters.
In a statement from her attorney, Quaranta, 47, described being harassed at work after she began transitioning in 2012. One such instance, in which a police sergeant referred to her as a "cave-man," resulted in the offender being suspended without pay for 10 days, notes Reuters.
In 2013, Quaranta made headlines when she officially filed a complaint with the Connecticut Human Rights Commission alleging her supervisors had created a hostile working environment, the Associated Press reported. According to the complaint, the discrimination Quaranta faced included excessive scrutiny, being asked to remove her earrings despite them being allowed for other female offiers, and a lieutenant referring to her with a male name and questioning whether she was fit for duty.
A member of the police force since 2004, Quaranta stated that her longtime coworkers were initally supportive of her transition but soon became hostile, resulting in her taking a paid administrative leave for several months. When Quaranta returned to work, she reportedly failed a "fitness-for-duty" evaluation that resulted in her position being terminated.
Police officials and Mayor Daniel Drew have denied that this decision had anything to do with Quaranta's being trans, claiming instead that she had refused to return to work.
Quaranta's lawyer, Emanuele Cicchiello, however, told Reuters that her client's civil rights were clearly violated. "She was a long-term, good-standing police officer, and the second she came out regarding her gender identity, everything changed."
Last month, Attorney General Eric Holder made it clear that workplace discrimination based on gender identity is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Amendment of 1964.