After being fired from his job, El'Jai Devoureau took his former employers to court. "They were judging me for who I am, not for the job I was being asked to do," he says.
New Jersey is one of the 12 states that specifically forbids discrimination based on transgender status, yet that's exactly what Mr. Devoureau is charging Urban Treatment Associates with doing. Reports the New York Times,
Last June, Urban Treatment Associates in Camden hired Mr. Devoureau as a part-time urine monitor; his job was to make sure that people recovering from addiction did not substitute someone else's urine for their own during regular drug testing. On his second day, he said, his boss said she had heard he was transgender. "I said I was male, and she asked if I had any surgeries," he said. "I said that was private and I didn't have to answer, and I was fired."
Basically, it was a job for a man, and they wouldn't recognize him as such. This doesn't mark the first discrimination lawsuit brought by a transgender person, but, as the Times points out, it's landmark in that it's the first employment case to address a person's actual sex. As such, a lot of people will be watching, and not just in Jersey.
A Lawsuit's Unusual Question: Who Is A Man? [NY Times]