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Let's talk about trans-related things

DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
edited April 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
Yesterday, I was recently fired from my job under dubious circumstances (no issues discussed, no warnings, no write-ups, no negative feedback whatsoever...and then bam - fired with no reason under the vague pretense that I failed some kind of secondary background check after five months of working there). This happened shortly (probably within ten days) of me disclosing to HR and my supervisor that I had started hormone treatments (I'm MTF) and basically that this was going on. I was under the impression that it would be wise to tell them before I started developing breasts or something, so that they would be prepared and in the know. I was told that HR departments like to be aware of such things.It seemed like I had received their blessing, but apparently that was not the case.

So last night I put in an app at a temp agency. They called me this morning. I interviewed this afternoon, and they have a position open for me at Wells Fargo working in their imaging center. I have to do another interview for that on Friday, but I'm hopeful and relatively confident.

The thing is, after everything that's happened, I'm not sure how to bring up the subject of my gender thingies. I'm not even sure if I should. Or if I should, who I should be speaking to and what I should say. I have not said anything to this temp agency.

I've already been growing my hair out for a while, although I still present as male.

So basically I have a few things that I don't know how to handle, here. Advice? Suggestions?

Please please please don't tell me I have to cut my hair. I've been growing it out for almost a year and I couldn't bear to start over again just because of this bullshit.

DirtyDirtyVagrant on

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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Are you planning on dressing as a woman at work? Changing your name? Will anything you're doing actually affect your workplace environment and/or is coming out there important to you at this point?

    Esh on
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    DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    Eventually? After I get to the point where I'm comfortable presenting full time. Which will be in about eight months, I'm guessing.

    It's a good bet that this will be an issue in the foreseeable future, and I had no reason to believe that my position previously wouldn't last another eight months. I was on a separate team doing specialized tasks for prospective clients - which is to say that I was handpicked out of 400+ people for doing a good fucking job. Which is why this sucks even more. The entire thing caught me completely off guard.

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    EddEdd Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Are you in the USA? It would be worth researching your state's statutes and legal precedents regarding the rights of transgendered workers. There may well be explicit protections in place to shield you from wrongful termination no matter what you do.

    Edit: though at a temp, it may be very difficult to establish wrongful termination, since the very nature of the employment is explicitly limited, unless your contract stipulates that your employment is guaranteed for a specific period. Even then, I'm sure there are big, broad clauses for early dismissal.

    Edd on
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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    Honestly, if you're comfortable with it, wait it out till you're in a secure position and firmly established somewhere. I know it sucks, but life isn't fair and a lot of companies will find any way they can to screw you if they feel they can get away with it. There are good times and there are bad times to choose when to fight these battles. In a perfect world, you could come right out and say it, but unfortunately, that's not what we live in.

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    _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    I'm curious: Are you planning to stay at one job throughout the transition? Or are you planning to hop around through various jobs during the transition, and then find a new job once you are ready to present as female?

    Given the general attitude towards transgendered persons, it seems like it would be easier to start a job as female presenting, rather than try to get your workplace to accept the transition.

    It isn't ideal. But, practically, that might be easier.

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    Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    Workplaces fire trans people all the time for minor grievances or for no reason at all and it is really terrible. It is considered faux pas for LGB but not for T. I would find a lawyer and also research which districts in your state have transgender working rights protections. I think my city does and maybe the county, but not the state. I wouldn't bring it up if you are afraid of getting fired again but do what is right for you.

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    DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    To answer J's question, I was just hoping to keep things as stable as possible, in terms of work. Although I did plan on moving and starting over somewhere once I had assumed my female identity full time.

    I live in Iowa. As far as I'm aware, gender identity and expression are protected here.

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    DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    The Iowa Civil Rights Commission page here says
    The "Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965" prohibits discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, credit, public accommodations and education. Discrimination, or different treatment, is illegal if based on race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, physical disability, mental disability, retaliation (because of filing a previous discrimination complaint, participating in an investigation of a discrimination complaint, or having opposed discriminatory conduct), age (in employment and credit), familial status (in housing and credit) or marital status (in credit).

    I would consider filing a complaint if at all possible.

    Then I would also consider talking to a lawyer. While at-will employees can pretty much be fired for any reason, they cannot be fired for any of those reasons listed above. Now, while an employer will deny this, the burden would be on them to show that the firing was not for any of the above reasons, which may be difficult for them to do if there were no comments in your file.

    DoctorArch on
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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited April 2012
    DoctorArch wrote: »
    The Iowa Civil Rights Commission page here says
    The "Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965" prohibits discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, credit, public accommodations and education. Discrimination, or different treatment, is illegal if based on race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, physical disability, mental disability, retaliation (because of filing a previous discrimination complaint, participating in an investigation of a discrimination complaint, or having opposed discriminatory conduct), age (in employment and credit), familial status (in housing and credit) or marital status (in credit).

    I would consider filing a complaint if at all possible.

    Then I would also consider talking to a lawyer. While at-will employees can pretty much be fired for any reason, they cannot be fired for any of those reasons listed above. Now, while an employer will deny this, the burden would be on them to show that the firing was not for any of the above reasons, which may be difficult for them to do if there were no comments in your file.

    I think we need a little more information about exactly what happened and what was said before we advise her to start suing people.

    Esh on
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    DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    While talking to a lawyer does not equal immediately suing someone, yes the opportunity is there.

    And why not? If DDV's facts as stated above are in order (and based on my own long history in the bullshit world of employment they seem perfectly reasonable) then she may have a case. Also, nothing changes company policy like a hit to the pocketbook, and I doubt we would see the company become more trans-friendly without certain encouragement in that direction.

    DoctorArch on
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    DeebaserDeebaser on my way to work in a suit and a tie Ahhhh...come on fucking guyRegistered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Another thing about lawsuits: They can show up on pre-employment background checks, so it really isn't something to be taken lightly. Understandably, potential future employer may pass you over for the person that didn't sue their previous employer.

    Deebaser on
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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited April 2012
    DoctorArch wrote: »
    While talking to a lawyer does not equal immediately suing someone, yes the opportunity is there.

    And why not? If DDV's facts as stated above are in order (and based on my own long history in the bullshit world of employment they seem perfectly reasonable) then she may have a case. Also, nothing changes company policy like a hit to the pocketbook, and I doubt we would see the company become more trans-friendly without certain encouragement in that direction.

    I see people get fired/laid off out of the blue for no reason (or a reason they don't see) all the time. It's not exactly uncommon. Just because it might be something related to her transition, that's not definitive proof. This is why I think we need more than "He got fired/laid off within 10 days of telling them her business so that must be the reason.". The facts are these...

    1. Told them about transition
    2. She had their blessing
    3. Laid off/Fired

    That doesn't really add up to much. I'm not above suing if its appro, but it's best to wait till all the facts are there. Sure, consult a lawyer if you really want, but don't get your hopes up. Also, the OP came looking for advice about her current job, not about lawsuits.

    OP, were you "fired" or laid off? Did they give you any reason or did they just tell you to clean out your desk and go?

    Esh on
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    flowerhoneyflowerhoney Registered User regular
    Regardless of what happened with this job, I would advise that you familiarize yourself with your state's rights concerning gender identity. I know it was brought up before, but make sure you know exactly how this law plays out. It won't not hurt to find a firm that deals in LGBTQ rights and talk to them about preparing yourself for potential issues while transitioning in the workplace. I'm sure they'll have lots of advice for you. Also are you involved with any trans support groups that deal with issues surrounding coming out? I would see what they have to say as well if you aren't.

    Good luck! You have a right to your gender identity and I think it would be wrong be bullied into to cut your hair or alter your appearance to fit the norm based on this experience (and if you really were fired for reasons that have nothing to do with your transition, then it shouldn't be an issue). A good job will supportive of your transition and respectful of your rights

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    DruhimDruhim Registered User, ClubPA regular
    Esh wrote: »
    DoctorArch wrote: »
    The Iowa Civil Rights Commission page here says
    The "Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965" prohibits discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, credit, public accommodations and education. Discrimination, or different treatment, is illegal if based on race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, physical disability, mental disability, retaliation (because of filing a previous discrimination complaint, participating in an investigation of a discrimination complaint, or having opposed discriminatory conduct), age (in employment and credit), familial status (in housing and credit) or marital status (in credit).

    I would consider filing a complaint if at all possible.

    Then I would also consider talking to a lawyer. While at-will employees can pretty much be fired for any reason, they cannot be fired for any of those reasons listed above. Now, while an employer will deny this, the burden would be on them to show that the firing was not for any of the above reasons, which may be difficult for them to do if there were no comments in your file.

    I think we need a little more information about exactly what happened and what was said before we advise her to start suing people.

    Talking to a lawyer isn't filing a lawsuit. Talking to a lawyer is getting professional legal advice. Which I'm pretty sure you're not able to give.

    belruelotterav-1.jpg
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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Nevermind.

    Esh on
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    EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Yesterday, I was recently fired from my job under dubious circumstances (no issues discussed, no warnings, no write-ups, no negative feedback whatsoever...and then bam - fired with no reason under the vague pretense that I failed some kind of secondary background check after five months of working there). This happened shortly (probably within ten days) of me disclosing to HR and my supervisor that I had started hormone treatments (I'm MTF) and basically that this was going on. I was under the impression that it would be wise to tell them before I started developing breasts or something, so that they would be prepared and in the know. I was told that HR departments like to be aware of such things.It seemed like I had received their blessing, but apparently that was not the case.

    So last night I put in an app at a temp agency. They called me this morning. I interviewed this afternoon, and they have a position open for me at Wells Fargo working in their imaging center. I have to do another interview for that on Friday, but I'm hopeful and relatively confident.

    The thing is, after everything that's happened, I'm not sure how to bring up the subject of my gender thingies. I'm not even sure if I should. Or if I should, who I should be speaking to and what I should say. I have not said anything to this temp agency.

    I've already been growing my hair out for a while, although I still present as male.

    So basically I have a few things that I don't know how to handle, here. Advice? Suggestions?

    Please please please don't tell me I have to cut my hair. I've been growing it out for almost a year and I couldn't bear to start over again just because of this bullshit.

    Vagrant,

    Wells Fargo is a pretty rad place for this sort of thing. My father went through reassignment after working with them for quite a long time. They worked with him and while they did make certain requests to minimize he impact of the name changes and employee relations (which was kinda terrible but predictable) they also asked him to spearhead some diversity info during the transition. They had (at least at the time of his retirement) a pretty solid LGBT lobby community within the company. This was a few years back, though.

    Ultimately, though, just document everything you do. While not a protected class formally (at least, not everywhere), you do have the right to look and be how you like so long as you are not violating any set employee standards. If the standards are vague, request they be defined in writing.

    And good luck, it's a long and hard road to go through, both for you and your loved ones. Hopefully you have a supportive and caring network to help you get through it.

    Enc on
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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Esh wrote: »
    DoctorArch wrote: »
    While talking to a lawyer does not equal immediately suing someone, yes the opportunity is there.

    And why not? If DDV's facts as stated above are in order (and based on my own long history in the bullshit world of employment they seem perfectly reasonable) then she may have a case. Also, nothing changes company policy like a hit to the pocketbook, and I doubt we would see the company become more trans-friendly without certain encouragement in that direction.

    I see people get fired/laid off out of the blue for no reason (or a reason they don't see) all the time. It's not exactly uncommon. Just because it might be something related to her transition, that's not definitive proof. This is why I think we need more than "He got fired/laid off within 10 days of telling them her business so that must be the reason.". The facts are these...

    1. Told them about transition
    2. She had their blessing
    3. Laid off/Fired

    That doesn't really add up to much. I'm not above suing if its appro, but it's best to wait till all the facts are there. Sure, consult a lawyer if you really want, but don't get your hopes up. Also, the OP came looking for advice about her current job, not about lawsuits.

    OP, were you "fired" or laid off? Did they give you any reason or did they just tell you to clean out your desk and go?

    And an investigation might find the improper paperwork in place, or that they replaced the position after the firing with no documentation as to why the person was fired. Which is why it's good to talk to a lawyer.

    It was the same advice we gave to the poster about a year or two back when his wife got glowing reviews and a raise and notified her supervisor that she was taking maternity leave on X and then being fired shortly after because of a "paperwork misfiling" as if it that meant anything. ("Sorry we gotta fire you because I forgot to attach an addendum to your paperwork!")

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    Esh wrote: »
    DoctorArch wrote: »
    While talking to a lawyer does not equal immediately suing someone, yes the opportunity is there.

    And why not? If DDV's facts as stated above are in order (and based on my own long history in the bullshit world of employment they seem perfectly reasonable) then she may have a case. Also, nothing changes company policy like a hit to the pocketbook, and I doubt we would see the company become more trans-friendly without certain encouragement in that direction.

    I see people get fired/laid off out of the blue for no reason (or a reason they don't see) all the time. It's not exactly uncommon. Just because it might be something related to her transition, that's not definitive proof. This is why I think we need more than "He got fired/laid off within 10 days of telling them her business so that must be the reason.". The facts are these...

    1. Told them about transition
    2. She had their blessing
    3. Laid off/Fired

    That doesn't really add up to much. I'm not above suing if its appro, but it's best to wait till all the facts are there. Sure, consult a lawyer if you really want, but don't get your hopes up. Also, the OP came looking for advice about her current job, not about lawsuits.

    OP, were you "fired" or laid off? Did they give you any reason or did they just tell you to clean out your desk and go?

    And an investigation might find the improper paperwork in place, or that they replaced the position after the firing with no documentation as to why the person was fired. Which is why it's good to talk to a lawyer.

    It was the same advice we gave to the poster about a year or two back when his wife got glowing reviews and a raise and notified her supervisor that she was taking maternity leave on X and then being fired shortly after because of a "paperwork misfiling" as if it that meant anything. ("Sorry we gotta fire you because I forgot to attach an addendum to your paperwork!")

    I know. I told her to consult a lawyer if she wanted.

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    DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Without having any real knowledge regarding the specifics of your situation, any time a protected class is fired the burden is usually on the employer to show that they had documented reason to fire them, EVEN in an "at will" state. Trans-status is not a protected class in most at-will states, however. Your specific state: I have no idea. If trans-status is not a protected class in your state, you're SOL. That's regarding the former employer.

    Regarding the upcoming employer, I unfortunately do not think I have any particularly insightful advice. Just wanted to throw out that first paragraph.

    What is this I don't even.
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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    DDV, you don't really need to tell us anything more if you don't want to. And if you're thinking about talking to a lawyer and/or filing a complaint, honestly it may be best not to.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    I just sent you a pm.

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    DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    I'm not sure what else there is to tell. Let me see if I can run it back in more detail.

    I was working in a call center. We were verifying employment for lenders. They give us the contact information, we call the employers, verify that so-and-so is working where they said they were, and then send the info on its way.

    In five months of working there, I was never talked to, criticized, warned (either verbally or in writing) or otherwise communicated with that any facet of my employment there was unsatisfactory. My attendance was near-perfect. My weekly quality review always came back at or very near 100%. I was never asked to work faster.

    About two weeks ago, after I started hormones, my therapist recommended that I disclose to my HR department and my immediate supervisor, because it was ideal to tell them sooner rather than later (her idea). HR and my supervisor extended their blessings via email and that was the end of the conversation.

    And then Sunday, I got a call stating that there was an issue with my background check (this is nearly 5 months into my employment - I started 11/18/2011). They asked me not to come in Monday, stating that they needed time to iron out whatever the problem was. Told me to call back on Monday. When I called Monday, they told me I was fired. They said they'd call and let me know when I can pick up my stuff from my desk.

    And that was the end of it. They declined to comment on why.

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    DruhimDruhim Registered User, ClubPA regular
    I'm so sorry, DDV. It's a tough call on whether to inform your next employer that you're transitioning up front. It could certainly reduce your chances of getting the job, but on the other hand they could also feel deceived if you don't tell them and they find out later on. It's totally unfair, you deserve better, but there are still a lot of bigots out there.

    As far as your previous job, I can totally understand if you don't want to get caught up in pursuing a claim against your previous employer. I'm not at all saying you shouldn't just recognizing that there are costs associated with that and it's understandable to be scared of going that route. However if you do want to know what legal recourse you have, if any, I'd suggest talking to a lawyer and finding out what the process would entail.

    I hope things work out at Wells Fargo. It sounds like they're a pretty accepting employer.

    belruelotterav-1.jpg
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    dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    I'm not sure what else there is to tell. Let me see if I can run it back in more detail.

    I was working in a call center. We were verifying employment for lenders. They give us the contact information, we call the employers, verify that so-and-so is working where they said they were, and then send the info on its way.

    In five months of working there, I was never talked to, criticized, warned (either verbally or in writing) or otherwise communicated with that any facet of my employment there was unsatisfactory. My attendance was near-perfect. My weekly quality review always came back at or very near 100%. I was never asked to work faster.

    About two weeks ago, after I started hormones, my therapist recommended that I disclose to my HR department and my immediate supervisor, because it was ideal to tell them sooner rather than later (her idea). HR and my supervisor extended their blessings via email and that was the end of the conversation.

    And then Sunday, I got a call stating that there was an issue with my background check (this is nearly 5 months into my employment - I started 11/18/2011). They asked me not to come in Monday, stating that they needed time to iron out whatever the problem was. Told me to call back on Monday. When I called Monday, they told me I was fired. They said they'd call and let me know when I can pick up my stuff from my desk.

    And that was the end of it. They declined to comment on why.

    In some places they're required to give you a copy of the background check they ran. You might want a copy of it for the lawsuit and so you can straighten out any problems that may actually exist on it if you didn't know you had any. Talk to a lawyer for certain, because if it's discrimination you need to file paperwork, if it's an error indicating a felony, you need to file paperwork.

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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Yes, @DirtyDirtyVagrant get to a lawyer pronto ... one that specializes in wrongful termination claims like this.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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