Tomi Boone Finkle is suing Howard County, Maryland for the county’s refusal to allow her to volunteer to ride with a new mounted patrol unit she says she helped Howard County police create. Finkle, represented by Matthew August LeFande, is seeking a place on the mounted auxiliary unit and unspecified compensation for her attorney’s fees. The county argues that Finkle cannot sue for job discrimination because a voluntary position is not employment. The Maryland Commission on Human Rights dismissed Finkle’s claim last year, but not on the question of whether she was a victim of discrimination. The commission’s deputy director wrote in September the case had been closed “for lack of jurisdiction over this matter because there is no established employee/employer relationship.”
The county also argued there’s no evidence anyone knew Finkle was transgender. But in court filings, Finkle questioned whether “any other reasonably sentient person” wouldn’t have known she was transgender, given that she’s 6-foot-3-inch tall, weighs 220 pounds and is broad-shouldered.
Howard County moved to dismiss. That motion was denied.