Deluxe Financial Services Corp. (Deluxe), a Shoreview, Minn.-based check-printing and financial services corporation, has agreed to pay $115,000 as part of the settlement of a sex discrimination and harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced.
According to EEOC’s complaint, Britney Austin was assigned the male sex at birth and presented as male when hired by the company. Ms. Austin performed her duties satisfactorily in the company’s Phoenix offices throughout a lengthy tenure. However, after she informed her supervisor that she was transgender and began to present as a woman at work, Deluxe refused to let her use the women’s restroom.
According to the suit, supervisors and coworkers subjected Austin to a hostile work environment, including hurtful epithets and intentionally using the wrong gender pronouns to refer to her.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, including that based on transgender status and gender stereotyping. This includes subjecting an employee to different terms and conditions or a hostile work environment because of sex.
A suit filed by EEOC, EEOC v. Deluxe Financial Services, Inc., sought both monetary and injunctive relief. Britney Austin intervened in the lawsuit and asserted additional claims.
In addition to requiring that Deluxe pay monetary damages to Austin, a three-year consent decree provides that Deluxe will issue a letter of apology to Austin and a letter of reference for future employers.
The consent decree also provides that, as of Jan. 1, 2016, Deluxe’s national health benefits plan will not include any partial or categorical exclusion for otherwise medically necessary care based on transgender status.
Under the decree, Deluxe will revise its equal employment opportunity policies to include a strong and clear commitment to preventing unlawful sex discrimination and harassment, including discrimination and harassment based on transgender status. It will also provide additional annual training for all employees that unlawful sex discrimination includes discrimination based on sex-stereotyping, gender-identity, and transgender status.
Deluxe will provide annual reports to EEOC regarding its implementation of these and other terms of the consent decree.