The U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada has held that a transgender plaintiff asserting a claim for sex discrimination is not required to respond to requests from the defendant about the status of his genitals.
Bradley Roberts is a Woman who identifies as a Man currently employed by Clark County School District (“CCSD”) as a police officer. He started as a part-time campus monitor in 1992 and was hired as a school police officer in March 1994. Biologically female, Roberts began formally transitioning to male in 2009.
Below, we borrow generously from the court’s opinion.
By the beginning of the 2011 school year, Roberts was identifying as a male transgender person. Since then Roberts has been subjected to harassment and humiliation in the CCSD work place that began when Roberts asked to have records changed. Roberts was subjected to inappropriate comments pertaining to sexuality and experience, and to overly intrusive and unnecessary demands for information about gender and genitalia by CCSD employees including supervisors and managers.
Roberts sued for unlawful sex discrimination in violation of Nevada law and Title VII when he informed CCSD that he had transitioned, asked to have his records changed to reflect he was male, and CCSD refused. He made this request after a court of competent jurisdiction entered an order changing his name, and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles issued a driver’s license in his new name which recognized his male transgender status. Roberts claims CCSD caused him emotional distress by the way it handled his request for a records change; because it refused to allow him to use the men’s restroom until he provided medical evidence that he was biologically or anatomically male; and by employees and supervisors asking questions about his genitalia.
CCSD countered in a motion to compel certain discover about Roberts’ medical history that Roberts must provide proof of his genitalia, and the details of his transgender treatment and stages in the process to prove CCSD violated Title VII and/or caused him emotional distress.
The court categorically rejected this position, stating that “(t)he phrase “private parts” has been in my vocabulary for more than 50 years for good and common sense reasons. It is difficult to fathom a subject more likely to cause embarrassment than requesting proof of one’s genitalia.”
The court found that CCSD asked for medical evidence of Roberts’ transgender transition in response to his request to change his records to reflect he was a transgender male and that CCSD told Roberts he would not be permitted to use the men’s room unless and until he provided proof that he was biologically male. The court further found that Roberts declined to provide medical evidence of the nature of the procedures and treatments he had received or medical records establishing his genital anatomy. The court concluded that CCSD does not need to know the intimate details of his transgender transition process to defend itself on these claims. If the district judge ultimately concludes that Roberts was required to provide the evidence CCSD demanded before he could change his records, be recognized as a transgender male, or use the men’s restroom, and prevent employees and supervisors from asking about his genitalia, Roberts will lose his Title VII claim. If the district judge concludes Roberts was not required to disclose this information, CCSD never had and still has no legitimate need for this extremely private information.