Ireland: woman wins workplace discrimination case
Helen G // 19 April 2011
In the first case of its kind, the Equality Tribunal has awarded €35,000 to a transexual worker who was discriminated against on gender and disability grounds.
Louise Hannon complained that after she told her employer First Direct Logistics Ltd she was transexual and needed to live in her true female identity she was discriminated against.
She says her work conditions were made so intolerable that she was ultimately constructively dismissed.
Miss Hannon claims she had to liaise with clients dressed as a man, was asked not to use the ladies toilet and was told to work from home, before she was eventually dismissed.
The Equality Officer stated that transexualism is a recognised medical condition, and concluded that Louise Hannon had suffered discrimination on gender and disability grounds.
Whilst I’m happy that Ms Hannon won her case, I also believe it’s one that should never have happened. And the fact that her employers at First Direct Logistics Ltd felt they could blithely disregard her employment rights speaks volumes about the arrogance of some sections of cissupremacist society in believing that transphobic bigotry and discrimination is acceptable.
But in the end, it seems to me that it’s not about the money: it’s about eradicating the outmoded and reactionary attitudes that allow this sort of hateful treatment of transsexual women in the workplace to continue.