EEOC files lawsuit on behalf of transgender employee

Shoreview, Minn-based Deluxe Financial Services is being sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for sex discrimination against a transgender employee.

According to the lawsuit filed on Friday, Britney Austin had performed her duties satisfactorily in the company's Phoenix offices throughout a lengthy tenure there. But after she began to present at work as a woman and informed her supervisors that she was transgender, Deluxe refused to let her use the women's restroom.

"Supervisors and coworkers subjected Austin to a hostile work environment, including hurtful epithets and intentionally using the wrong gender pronouns to refer to her," the EEOC said in a news release.

According to the EEOC, the alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits sex discrimination, including that based on transgender status and gender stereotyping, and subjecting an employee to a hostile work environment.

The lawsuit, seeking both monetary and injunctive relief, was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement.

In a statement Saturday, the company wrote that the EEOC claims lack merit and the company takes the dignity of its employees seriously.

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