Jesse Muir was employed by two companies: USIS National Security Division (“USIS”) and Applied Intergrated Technologies (“AIT”), both federal contractors. He was hired by USIS in June 2009 as a Construction Surveillance Technician and was hired by Defendant in December 2009 as a part-time Access Control Manager. As a requirement for both positions, Muir had to hold and maintain a security clearance. In 2011, Muir decided he was transgender and transitioned to Leanna Muir by filing a legal name change and starting treatment for gender identity disorder.
When hired by AIT, Muir was given the company’s employee handbook, which states that
If the Government withdraws an employee’s security clearance, AIT may find it necessary to terminate an employee involuntarily. If this occurs, AIT reserves the right to decide to reassign the employee to work that does not require access to sensitive information. In the event that no such assignment is available, AIT has no other choice than to terminate the employee.
Muir came to AIT holding a Top Secret Clearance, with access to Sensitive Compartmented Information (“TS/SCI”), which the Defense Intelligence Agency (“DIA”) granted in approximately February 2007 to Jesse Muir.
Muir was employed with AIT at the National Center for Medical Intelligence (“NCMI”) at Fort Detrick, Maryland. In early March 2011, during the early stages of the sex transition process, Muir reported to work at Fort Detrick in a company uniform with painted fingernails. An employee at Fort Detrick complained; this led to AIT calling Muir for a meeting with several AIT managers on March 16, 2011. At that meeting, Muir informed AIT of the interest in transitioning from male to female. AIT suspended Muir and, according to Muir, said that the customer needed time to “cool down.”
AIT conveys a different version of this interaction. As part of its motion for summary judgment, AIT filed an affidavit of Vicki Redman, the company Human Resources Manager. According to Ms. Redman, Timothy Wolfe, Security Manager for the DIA at Fort Detrick, informed AIT that in order to maintain the TS/SCI security clearance – a requirement to work at Fort Detrick – Muir must provide a letter from a mental health care practitioner attesting to Muir’s fitness to work, and a personal statement from Muir explaining the thought process that led Plaintiff to become transgender. Mr. Wolfe is an employee of DIA, not AIT. At the March 16, 2011 meeting, AIT informed Muir of DIA’s demands and gave Muir sixty (60) days to comply. Muir was informed that “pursuant to DIA policy/directive, she could not report to work until the documentation was provided, and that, if the documentation was not provided within this timeframe, the DIA may terminate its subcontract with AIT.” Muir claims she provided the documentation, while AIT denies that she did.
Muir subsequently filed for sex discrimination under Title VII, and AIT moved to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment. The District Court of Maryland refused AIT’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, based on the fact that factual evidence supported Muir’s version of events. The evidence also appears undisputed that Muir was fired not for any performance-based reason. Muir’s specific Title VII complaint is that she was fired “because (AIT) perceived her to be a man who did not conform to traditional gender stereotypes associated with men in society or because [Muir] is transgender and intended to physically transition from male to female.”
We hope Muir prevails under the argument that AIT “perceived her to be a man who did not conform to traditional gender stereotypes associated with men in society.”