Ruling protects the rights of transgender employees against discrimination in the workplace
OKLAHOMA CITY, Sept. 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — A federal court of appeals recently directed that a professor who was denied tenure and lost her job at a state university in Oklahoma due to her transgender status must be reinstated, with tenure, at the university. Brittany M. Novotny, an attorney at National Litigation Law Group (NLLG) in Oklahoma City, played a key role in the successful trial and appeal.
Novotny was a member of the trial team that helped win a jury verdict in 2017 for the professor, Dr. Rachel Tudor, and she also was instrumental in drafting the briefs to the Court of Appeals, along with attorneys Ezra Young from New York, and Marie Galindo from Texas. At the 2017 trial, a federal court jury in Oklahoma City found that Southeastern Oklahoma State University had discriminated against Dr. Tudor on the basis of her transgender status when they denied her tenure, which then resulted in Dr. Tudor losing her job at the University. Although the jury had found in Dr. Tudor’s favor and had awarded money damages, the trial judge denied her request to be reinstated with tenure at the University. The damages award was appealed by the University, and Dr. Tudor appealed the trial judge’s refusal to reinstate her with tenure.
The appellate decision in Dr. Tudor’s case was delayed while the U.S. Supreme Court considered a separate case, Bostock v. Clayton County , and whether discrimination against a transgender employee constituted discrimination on the basis of sex, which is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Last year the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the transgender employee on that question, setting the stage for a decision on Dr. Tudor’s appeal. On September 13, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit found in favor of Dr. Tudor, and further directed the trial judge to reinstate Dr. Tudor to her former position, with tenure, as Dr. Tudor had requested.
“It was a true team effort to help Dr. Tudor find justice in our federal court system,” Novotny stated. “I am honored to have played a role in affirming the rights of transgender Americans to have employment decisions made free from discrimination. Dr. Tudor won a tremendous victory at trial, but it was not complete with her being denied reinstatement. Even after the Supreme Court’s later decision in Bostock, Dr. Tudor’s reinstatement was not assured, so I was thrilled with the Court of Appeals’ unanimous decision in her favor.”
In ruling for Dr. Tudor, the Court of Appeals stated emphatically that, “it is established—and we cannot now question—that Dr. Tudor would have been granted tenure in 2009-10 absent the discrimination.” In directing that Dr. Tudor should be reinstated with tenure, the Court of Appeals said they were “restoring Dr. Tudor to the position she would have been in had Southeastern not engaged in prohibited discrimination against her.”
National Litigation Law Group, the firm that employs Novotny, was founded in 2014, and has focused on representing consumer debtors against credit card companies and other unsecured creditors. NLLG also represents clients in other types of litigation matters. For more information about the recent appeal decision in favor of Dr. Tudor, you can contact Brittany Novotny at [email protected], or Mark Grossman, the chief executive officer of NLLG, at [email protected].
SOURCE National Litigation Law Group