News (USA)

Transgender woman gets settlement in workplace discrimination suit

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A settlement has been reached in a discrimination lawsuit brought by a transgender employee at a Fargo hospital, according to court documents filed Wednesday.

Faye Seidler, who was assigned male at birth and identifies as a female, filed the complaint in December against Sanford Medical Center. The suit was seeking unspecified damages and an order to stop the hospital from discriminating against employees who have undergone or are undergoing a gender transition.

Seidler’s attorney, Joshua Newville, says the agreement resolves the matter “to the mutual satisfaction of the parties.” He would not disclose terms of the settlement or comment further.

Sanford’s attorneys, Elizabeth Alvine and Kristy Albrecht, did not respond to requests for comment. Sanford spokesman Darren Huber declined to comment.

Seidler said in the suit that managers did not treat her fairly and she was wrongly denied access to the women’s locker room. She said she was forced to put her coat in the break room and in one instance her $300 down jacket was damaged with ink.

Sanford’s attorneys said in court documents that the hospital made a good-faith effort to address Seidler’s complaints and were working on the locker room issue when she quit in March 2015. A hospital spokesman also noted that a similar complaint by Seidler to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was dismissed.

Seidler said she began hormone therapy in September 2013 as part of her transition. She began working for Sanford Health as a technician in spring 2014 and said she notified managers during her 90-day review that she would be telling people who considered her to be male of her sex and gender.

Hospital officials said managers told all supervisors to watch for potentially harassing conduct and none was observed.

Sanford’s employment policies prohibit discrimination of any kind, including discrimination based on sexual orientation, Huber said when the suit was filed.

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