Trans nurse wins a discrimination case

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A transgender nurse has been awarded $120,000 after the Iowa prison where he worked rejected his requests to use male bathroom facilities. A District Court jury in Polk County decided on February 13 that Jesse Vroegh should receive $100,000 for damages for sex discrimination and $20,000 for discrimination in equal access to health care benefits, this is the first case of such kind ruled in favor of a trans person in Iowa since the state added gender identity issues to the Civil Rights Act in 2007. Vroegh, 37, sued the Iowa Department of Corrections (DoC) for workplace discrimination and damages related to being denied insurance coverage for a mastectomy and chest reconstruction after he started transitioning into male 5 years ago. When the DoC denied Vroegh’s requests, it cited the “rights of the male officers,” adding that transgender issues were “too controversial,” according to the lawsuit. The nurse claimed he was told he could use the unisex bathrooms in a different building, in an area where he did not work. The jury decided that the DoC’s response to Vroegh’s request broke the Iowa Civil Rights Act requirement that employers allow workers to use “restrooms in accordance with their gender identity, rather than their assigned sex at birth.”

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