Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog

EEOC Issues Landmark Ruling in Transgender Employee Rights Case

EEOC Issues Landmark Ruling in Transgender Employee Rights Case

Today Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP and Transgender Law Center announced a groundbreaking decision in the case Lusardi v. McHugh, pending before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that enforces U.S. laws against workplace discrimination.


In this case of first impression, the EEOC reversed a lower agency decision and held that the employer subjected our client, Tamara Lusardi, to disparate treatment and harassment based on sex in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when (1) the employer restricted her from using the common female restroom (consistent with her gender identity) and (2) a team leader intentionally and repeatedly referred to her by male pronouns and made hostile remarks about her transition and gender.

Ms. Lusardi transitioned from male to female while working as a civilian employee for the Department of the Army in Huntsville, Alabama. As noted by the Transgender Law Center, Ms. Lusardi’s case raised some of the most common forms of harassment faced by transgender employees. The EEOC ordered the Army to provide Ms. Lusardi with compensatory damages and attorneys’ fees and to conduct EEO training for all employees and supervisors in the facility where she works.

Lieff Cabraser attorney Martin D. Quiñones stated, “We are honored to be associated with this historic decision, and we could not be more proud of Ms. Lusardi. By standing up for herself, she has made the workplace safer for transgender employees across the country.”

Lieff Cabraser attorneys Kelly M. Dermody and Martin D. Quiñones joined Ilona M. Turner and Sasha J. Bucher of the Transgender Law Center as counsel for Ms. Lusardi.

Read the EEOC decision and press release from the Transgender Law Center.