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Transgender teacher claims firing was wrongful

A transgender high school teacher is in the middle of a lawsuit with the school where he taught for 32 years. He claims that the school's administration discriminated against him when they terminated him last year. During 31 years of teaching at the school, the teacher performed his job well, but one complaint in the fall of 2011 set off a series of events that put him out of a job and into a lawsuit.

A little over a year ago, the principal reportedly received a complaint from a parent about the teacher's appearance. The teacher states that he wore earrings and usually had a manicure, though he always wore a suit and tie and was well-groomed. The principal informed the teacher that he needed to change his appearance, because of the parent's complaint.

After hearing about the complaint and the principal's request that he change his appearance, the teacher informed the principal and assistant principal that he was transgender. He agreed to "tone down" his appearance by not wearing earrings or having a manicure.

However, even though the teacher altered his appearance, the principal told the teacher at the end of the school year that he had not changed his appearance enough. For this reason, the principal fired the teacher.

Now, he has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the school, alleging discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Since the school never voiced any concerns with his physical appearance during the three decades he worked there, it seems as though his admission that he was transgender may have influenced the school's decision to fire him.

Whenever an employee believes that his or her firing was not legal, looking into filing a wrongful termination lawsuit may be worthwhile. Termination from a job might be wrongful if the employer fired a worker on the basis of something like age, religion, gender, or race.

Source: CNN, "Transgender teacher sues Catholic prep school for alleged discrimination," Moni Basu, Jan. 11, 2013

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