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Federal Judge Approves Trans Man's Case Against Former Employers


"If you don’t speak up, nothing is going to change."

A federal judge has just ruled allowing a trans man from Kentucky to file a suit against his employer for harassment and wrongful termination.

According to court documents, Mykel Mickens of Louisville was fired from his job at a GE Appliance Park in June for attendance issues, yet Mickens claims that this was a result of gender discrimination by his employers. Mickens says he was forced to use the women's restroom, so he started using one father away, which contributed to his lateness.

Mickens also claims that his co-workers harassed him for being trans and referred to him by the wrong name and pronouns.

"They treated me like nothing... everyday harassment, discrimination, intimidation," he told WDRB. "Nobody ever did anything about it, even when I said something, and it got bigger and bigger and bigger."

Mickens says that he's fighting on principle: "If you don't speak up, nothing is going to change."

The Chinese conglomerate that owns GE, Qindao Haier Co., requested that the lawsuit be dismissed, saying that Mickens failed to notify them of any wrongdoing:

"Haier maintained at all relevant times a written policy prohibiting unlawful harassment. This policy provided multiple specific avenues for employees to report alleged harassment; the Plaintiff knew or should have known of this policy and reporting procedure and failed to reasonably utilize these remedies and promptly report the alleged harassment to Haier."

Judge Joseph McKinley, however, cited the 1964 Civil Rights Act as grounds for Mickens' discrimination allegations, writing that Mickens' complaint, "sufficiently alleges facts to support discrimination or disparate treatment claims based upon race and gender non-conformity or sex stereotyping."

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