Judge rules that transgender employee can sue under ADA

In a ruling on May 18, 2017, U.S. District Court judge Joseph F. Leeson, Jr.  of Pennsylvania ruled that a transgender woman could move forward with a sexual discrimination lawsuit against an employer under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Currently under law, the ADA explicitly excludes transgender individuals from any protections.  This marks the first time ever that a transgender person will be able to sue under the ADA.

Judge Leeson Jr. avoiding ruling on the constitutionality of the ADA, but he found that the case could go forward as the ADA is designed to give people with disabilities the right to pursue discrimination claims.  However, being transgender is not considered a disorder, but it can give rise to what is known as gender dysphoria, which is a type of anxiety- which may require medical treatment.  The Judge ruled in the plaintiff’s favor due to gender dysphoria, as the plaintiff claimed that they were fired after a pattern of harassment which included of her being denied use of the women’s bathroom, and being forced to use a name tag which had her male name given at birth.