Louisiana trans man says he was fired from his job at a New Orleans financial firm because he refused to obey his employers’ edict that he wear dresses and identify as female.
According to ABC News, a number of rights organizations are banding together to support Tristan Brussard in his lawsuit against Tower Loan, which fired him when he refused to sign a document renouncing his trans identity and ordering him to identify as female.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Altshuler Berzon LLP, and Delaney and Robb filed suit against the loan company, alleging that Brussard’s civil rights were violated when his supervisor called him into a back office at the firm and ordered him to sign a document saying that his “preference to act and dress as male” was not “in compliance with Tower Loan’s personnel policies.”
Brussard refused and was fired.
“I don’t know if that’s the hard-headed part of me,” Brussard told the National Lesbian Rights Center, “or just the fact that I know who I am.”
The company hired Brussard as a manager trainee only a few days before, but when they looked at his Louisiana driver’s license, it listed his gender as “F,” setting in motion the process that led up to the ultimatum.
According to the NCLR, “Tower Loan, a privately owned finance company that operates more than 180 branches in five states, including Louisiana, has more than 700 employees and serves more than 200,000 customers. During an investigation by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Tower Loan argued that federal antidiscrimination laws do not protect transgender workers.”
ABC News said that the firm tentatively offered to re-hire Brussard if he completes gender reassignment surgery. He has been on hormone therapy for a year, but Tower said that’s not enough to make him qualify as a male employee.
“He said, ‘Well you know, maybe if you had some surgeries, we could see some results and we could consider hiring you back,’” Broussard said, quoting the company vice president who fired him.
The suit — filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) — is currently pending in Louisiana federal court.
Ryan Delaney of Delaney and Robb Attorneys at Law said, “He was certainly wronged in the situation. Tower Loans biased views of someone’s gender identity was the only reason of firing him.”