Pottsville Transgender Woman Settles Discrimination Lawsuit

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POTTSVILLE — A transgender Pottsville woman has settled the federal job discrimination suit against her former employer, according to court documents.

Kate Lynn Blatt’s lawsuit against Cabela’s Retail Inc. was dismissed Sept. 18 upon a settlement being reached.

“I really do feel that the system came through for me, even though it took 10 years,” Blatt said Tuesday. “I just want to move on with my life and be normal.”

Blatt said the settlement included a nondisclosure agreement and she was unable to discuss the terms any further.

“I think it signifies a better understanding of transgender in American culture,” Blatt said. “It’s out there more than it ever was and it’s not a scary topic anymore. There is more education on it.”

Blatt filed the lawsuit in 2014, claiming that Cabela’s fired her after harassment that included denying her use of the women’s bathroom and temporarily forcing her to wear a name tag with her male name given at birth. She also claimed she was passed over for promotions because of her gender identity and was eventually fired as a form of retaliation for her complaints to management about sex discrimination.

Blatt worked at the Hamburg store as a seasonal stocker in 2006 and 2007. She was diagnosed with gender dysphoria, also known as gender identity disorder, and completed her transition about 13 years ago.

In the original lawsuit filed in September 2014, Blatt was seeking more than $150,000 in damages for violating her civil rights.

In May, a federal judge granted Blatt permission to pursue her lawsuit under the American with Disabilities Act, even though it specifically excludes transgender people from protection. She was the first transgender individual allowed to do so.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Leeson ruled that simply being transgender was an insufficient reason to bring a case, but that gender dysphoria was a medical condition worthy of protection against discrimination. He did not rule on the constitutionality of the ADA.

Gender dysphoria is a condition where a person’s physical or assigned gender does not match the gender with which he or she identifies, according to the American Psychiatric Association.

“All I ever wanted was a job so I could pay my bills,” Blatt said. “That’s all I ever wanted. I never set out to do this. Ultimately, I’m glad I pushed it forward.”

The lawsuit challenged a clause in the ADA that “disability” shall not include “transsexualism.” It also cited protections in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against sex discrimination in employment and had asked the judge to rule that the ADA clause violates the U.S. Constitution because it denies equal protection under the law.

Source:  http://republicanherald.com/news/pottsville-transgender-woman-settles-discrimination-lawsuit-1.2247927

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