Complaint alleges job offer rescinded due to transgender status

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BEND, Ore. — An Oregon individual who identifies as neither a man nor a woman has filed a sex discrimination complaint against a Wisconsin-based wilderness therapy program claiming they lost out on a job by identifying as transgender.

Oregon-flagThe Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries is investigating the complaint by Sorin D. Thomas, who says the offer of a job as a field therapist for New Vision West Coast Inc. was rescinded after Thomas disclosed that information.

New Vision’s office in Bend did not respond to calls seeking comment on Wednesday. Calls to the Wisconsin office were not answered.

The company provides therapy services to preteens, adolescents and young adults through wilderness excursions and long-term treatment.

Thomas identified as transgender in a conversation with Steve Sawyer, New Vision’s co-founder and clinical director, The Bulletin of Bend reported Tuesday.

The complaint says Sawyer expressed concerns that the status of Thomas might negatively impact customers. He also asked Thomas to submit a letter reflecting on the issue.

The complaint said Thomas filed the letter but did not receive a response until June 3, when Sawyer replied that the company was reviewing and interviewing applicants.

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The complaint alleges that New Vision did not ask other employees to carry out similar requests involving their gender status during the hiring process.

The complaint with the Oregon labor board was filed on Sept. 3. It alleges the job offer was ultimately rescinded. The company declined to comment to the newspaper.

The agency has a year to complete the investigation, but most bureau reviews typically take four to six months, spokesman Charlie Burr said.

If it finds substantial evidence that New Vision’s actions were discriminatory, it will bring the parties together to determine whether they can reach a settlement.

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