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Transgender Professor Wins Sex Discrimination Trial

Rachel Tudor sued the Southeastern Oklahoma State University for discriminating against her because she is transgender. At the time of her hire in 2004, Ms. Tudor was male. Approximately three years into her tenure, she began to transition to female.

Specifically, Ms. Tudor claimed that once she began to transition the University told her that she could keep her job so long as she followed certain rules. She could not use the women’s restroom, wear short skirts and was instructed not to wear make-up. She was limited to the use of just one single occupancy restroom on campus. The University was also accused of refusing to grant her tenure. She claimed that she was treated differently than non-transgender professors who conformed to gender stereotypes. The University countered that she did not put in the time needed for her to earn tenure and that she was “crying wolf.”

In awarding her $1,156,000 in damages, the jury determined that she had been denied tenure base on her gender in violation of Title VII. It also found that the University retaliated against her for complaining about the discrimination by not allowing her to reapply for tenure after being denied. She was not found to have endured a hostile work environment. The judge will decide whether she must be reinstated to her former position.