Vandy Beth Glenn took a step closer to vindication today when a federal judge ordered the Georgia General Assembly to reinstate her to her previous job as a legislative editor. Glenn was fired in 2007 after disclosing her plan to transition from male to female.
Judge orders trans woman reinstated to job at Ga. General Assembly
“I’ve always known we were in the right,” a tearful Glenn said in an interview in the courtroom after the hearing. “This is our time. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are no longer disposable. We can’t be thrown out with the trash and this decision affirms that.”
Today’s hearing came after the court ruled ruled July 2 that the Georgia General Assembly illegally discriminated against Glenn when Legislative Counsel Sewell Brumby fired her for being transgender.
All along, Glenn has said that her ultimate goal would be to get her job back. Today, the judge granted that request — although when, or if, it will actually happen remains unclear at this time. The judge will issue his ruling later today that include a date Glenn is to return to work. Glenn will not receive back pay as part of the today’s ruling.
Brumby attended today’s remedy hearing, during which his attorney asked for a stay on the reinstatement until they could appeal the decision.
Brumby’s attorney, who declined an interview request, noted that they would be willing to pay Glenn, but not have her return to work, during the appeal process.
No date was set for Glenn’s reinstatement. A hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 6, on whether to stay the reinstatement.
“It’s been a long road,” Glenn said. “But this isn’t about me, it has never been about me and it’s not even about LGBT people but about people being treated with respect. It’s un-American the way I’ve been treated.”
Glenn was hired as a legislative editor in 2005 when she was living as a male, Glenn Morris. In 2006, she was diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder and informed her supervisor, Beth Yinger, of her intention to transition to female. Glenn presented Yinger with photographs of her as a woman and also gave Yinger educational materials about an employee transitioning in the workplace.
Yinger saw no problem with this news and gave the information to Brumby.
But when Glenn came to work dressed as a woman on Halloween in 2006 — when two other employees were dressed in costume — Brumby ordered her to go home because her attire was not appropriate. He then fired Glenn on Oct. 16, 2007, after learning she planned to transition.
Brumby stated during court depositions that the thought of someone with male sexual organs in women’s clothing was “unsettling” to him, was “something I don’t like to think about,” and was something he viewed as “unnatural.” Brumby also freely admitted he thought Georgia legislators would think Glenn’s presence at the Capitol would be “immoral.”
He also stated in depositions that keeping Glenn on the job “was inappropriate, that it would be disruptive, that some people would view it as a moral issue, and that it would make Glenn’s coworkers uncomfortable.”
Lambda Legal attorney Greg Nevins, who represents Glenn, said he wants Brumby to attend sensitivity training as part of Glenn’s return to work. He also commended Glenn for her courage throughout the legal process.
“She’s a tremendous fighter. I think she’s put a great face on discrimination for trans folks,” he said. “This has been very rough and she’s shown tremendous courage. It will be a great moment when she goes back to work.”