Kate Lynn Blatt, a Pottsville trans woman who filed suit in 2014 claiming her former employer failed to reasonably accommodate her disabling gender dysphoria, recently settled her case.
Blatt alleged Cabela's Retail Inc. violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when denying her access to a gender-appropriate restroom and nametag. Under the ADA, private employers are required to make "reasonable accommodations" for disabled workers.
Blatt's case was hailed as a milestone for trans equality when a federal judge in May granted her permission to seek relief under the ADA. Prior to the ruling, the ADA was considered by many to be off-limits for trans antibias litigants.
"I changed federal civil-rights laws," Blatt noted this week.
Blatt declined to comment on specific terms of the settlement but indicated satisfaction with the outcome.
"I believed in the system," Blatt said. "I pushed it all the way. And I feel the system ultimately came through for me. I'm 36 years old and this case has occupied close to a third of my life. I've fulfilled my contribution to the trans community. Now I'm really looking forward to just being Kate Lynn."
Blatt also praised her attorneys, Sidney L. Gold and Neelima Vanguri, for their skillful handling of the case.
Cabela's is a retail chain that specializes in outdoor sports items. Blatt worked at Cabela's outlet in Hamburg as a seasonal stocker for about six months in 2006-7.
An attorney for Cabela's had no comment for this story.
Justin F. Robinette, a local civil-rights attorney, expressed mixed feelings about the case.
"I feel gratified the case has helped nudge the door open a bit for transgender people. But I look forward to the day all anti-trans bias is prohibited under the ADA. Trans people without disabling gender dysphoria — or without any form of gender dysphoria — also should be protected under the ADA. If you have a record of a disability, or are perceived or regarded as disabled, you should still be able to recover under the ADA. This includes if your sex did not match your gender at birth, or if your employer treats you differently or adversely because they think your gender doesn't appropriately match your sex." n