Attorneys for transwoman file appellate brief in job-bias case
by Timothy Cwiek
Jan 31, 2013 | 1278 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Janis Stacy continues to fight for her day in court.

Three years ago, the transwoman sued LSI Corporation, where she worked as an engineer for about 10 years, prior to her termination in 2008.

She claims the Allentown-based electronics firm terminated her because of her gender, gender identity and disability.

This fall, U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno dismissed the case as meritless.

Last week, Stacy’s attorneys filed their opening salvo in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, where Stacy seeks a court order paving the way for a jury trial in her case.

The 60-page appellate brief, filed Jan. 24, urges that a jury should decide the case.

Robreno “resolved numerous factual disputes in favor of LSI, gave LSI the benefit of reasonable inferences of fact and failed to mention many important facts favorable to Stacy,” according to the brief.

In 2002, Stacy was diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder, and in 2005 disclosed her identity at work, presenting as a woman. She was terminated in 2008, weeks after the company adopted an antibias policy that doesn’t include gender identity as a protected category, according to the brief.

Prior to her transition, Stacy had a successful career at the company and received periodic salary increases and bonuses, according to the brief.

But that changed after her transition.

For example, the brief said Stacy’s work-group director immediately began shunning her, and continued to refer to her as a male.

Stacy’s next work-group director told coworkers he’d been a “bigot” in the past, without clarifying that he no longer held bigoted attitudes, according to the brief.

He also allegedly suggested to Stacy that she leave LSI to be free of the problems she encountered with her prior director.

When Stacy declined, the brief stated, the director dismissed her, despite protests from her immediate supervisor, who the brief says was threatened with dismissal if he continued to advocate for her.

The director who terminated Stacy later claimed he had to downsize his group.

But, according to the brief, Stacy was replaced with a lesser-skilled engineer shortly after she left.

In court papers, LSI maintained that Stacy was terminated due to workforce reductions, and because she lacked the requisite skills to help move the company forward.

LSI officials pointed to a skills assessment involving three engineers in Stacy’s work group, in which Stacy scored lowest.

But Stacy’s brief alleges that the skills assessment was “a sham to mask an ulterior motive” of dismissing Stacy — and wasn’t done until after Stacy was terminated.

In his ruling, Robreno said he wouldn’t “second-guess” the skills assessment and resulting business decisions on the part of LSI. Stacy’s brief says Robreno should have considered whether the assessment was a ruse to cover up job discrimination.

The brief also argues LSI gave conflicting reasons for Stacy’s termination, thus raising credibility issues for a jury to sort out.

Stacy is seeking an unspecified amount in compensatory and punitive damages.

Robert W. Cameron, an attorney for LSI, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Scott B. Goldshaw, an attorney for Stacy, declined to comment, citing the litigation.

LSI has 21 days to respond to Stacy’s brief. Then, attorneys for Stacy have 14 days to file an optional reply brief.

Then a three-judge panel will be selected to rule on the matter.

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