Transgender plaintiff files $1.1 million lawsuit against former employer Nike for exposure to incorrect gender pronouns

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by Dean Garrison, DC Clothesline:

Jazz Lyles — who was born female but identifies as “transmasculine/nonbinary” — has sued former employer Nike for exposure to gender identity-based discrimination and harassment and retaliation, specifically for using gender pronouns the plaintiff doesn’t identify with, Willamette Week reported.

CBS News reported that Lyles’ suit seeks $1.1 million in damages and that it also named Mainz Brady Group, a staffing firm that hired workers for Nike.

What are the details?

Lyles alleges that before coming to work as a $62.50-per-hour computer engineer at Nike’s Beaverton, Oregon, headquarters in 2017, the plaintiff specified wanting to be referred to by “they/them/their” pronouns — but that other employees of the sportswear giant allegedly disregarded Lyles’ requests and engaged in “misgendering,” the outlet said.

More from Willamette Week:

Emails and other electronic messages show Lyles politely but firmly communicated with peers and managers, seeking to help them understand why being referred to by the correct pronouns was important. One colleague responded by greeting Lyles, “Hey, girl, what’s up?” Another told them that using Lyles’ pronouns was against her religion.

Lyles cycled through three assignments, becoming increasingly wounded by co-workers using the wrong pronouns. Eventually, they took medical leave and worked primarily from home before their contract ended last fall. In their lawsuit, Lyles says Nike managers failed to safeguard Lyles’ civil rights and blocked them from obtaining a full-time Nike job, as many contractors do.

“Nike had a pattern and practice of turning a blind eye to reported and known harassment,” the lawsuit states, according to the outlet, “instead blaming the harassed, treating them as the problem and as troublemakers, all the while failing to ever investigate or take corrective action to remedy the harassment.”

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