D.C. Worker Allegedly Fired for Not Being ‘Manly’ Has Bias Claim

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By Jay-Anne B. Casuga

The District of Columbia Department of Corrections must continue to defend against the gender stereotyping claim of a worker who said he was fired because he wasn’t “manly” enough.

The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized gender stereotyping as a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act since 1989. Although federal courts are split on whether Title VII prohibits sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination, some lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers have successfully brought bias claim under the gender stereotyping theory.

Here, Darnelle Creese alleged that a training and supervisory officer viewed his perceived status as a gay male as “insufficiently masculine.” He said the officer made comments about how Creese shouldn’t wear tight-fitting shirts or earrings, referred to Creese as a “pretty” boy, and expressed displeasure after learning that Creese gave other trainees “hair makeovers.”

Creese said he was fired without explanation two weeks after beginning work at a D.C. jail. He later learned he was fired because he brought a personal flash drive to work and the officer looked at the contents, which included a nude photo of Creese and pictures of other men.

Those allegations are enough to support a Title VII sex discrimination claim, Judge Rosemary M. Collyer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled Nov. 20 ( Creese v. District of Columbia , 2017 BL 415865, D.D.C., No. 16-2440, motion to dismiss denied in part 11/20/17 ). The judge also allowed Creese’s equal protection claim against the officer to proceed but dismissed his claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jay-Anne B. Casuga in Washington at jcasuga@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Terence Hyland at thyland@bloomberglaw.com

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