Company defends dismissal of trans employee
by Timothy Cwiek
Feb 28, 2013 | 953 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
LSI Corp., an Allentown electronics firm, filed a lengthy appellate brief Feb. 22 defending its decision to dismiss transwoman Janis Stacy.

Stacy worked for the company as an engineer for about 10 years prior to her January 2008 dismissal.

She filed suit in federal court in 2010, claiming unlawful discrimination due to her gender, gender identity and disability.

U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno tossed out Stacy’s lawsuit last year, but Stacy is appealing that ruling in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

Stacy wants a jury trial, contending that Robreno ruled on matters that are supposed to be decided by a jury.

LSI’s 53-page brief contends Stacy was just one of many employees who had to be dismissed due to an “adverse economy.”

“[LSI] had been laying off thousands of employees for the six to seven years [prior to Stacy’s dismissal], requiring them to make a ‘fresh start’ somewhere,” the brief states.

Stacy, however, contends that a lesser-skilled LSI employee replaced her after her dismissal.

But the brief states the employee only performed some of her duties temporarily — before the duties were transferred to workers in China.

“[The other employee] merely performed some of Stacy’s remaining duties in addition to his own product-engineer duties, after Stacy’s layoff.”

The brief also notes that LSI continued to employ Stacy — and paid her well — for about three years after she transitioned to the opposite gender.

The brief states that LSI assessed the skills of Stacy and two coworkers, and Stacy scored lowest — allegedly due to her inability to help LSI move in a new direction.

“Her [past] performance wasn’t a factor in LSI’s decision to lay her off,” the brief states.

Instead, the assessment was “based on skills required for [LSI] to move forward,” according to the brief.

“Although Stacy may feel that she was more valuable to the organization and/or was a better performer than [coworkers], the fact remains that her skills were assessed as less valuable than [coworkers’] skills, given the needs of the organization moving forward.”

The company denies that the assessment was conducted after Stacy’s dismissal. It also denies that the assessment was a ruse to cover up unlawful discrimination, as Stacy alleges.

Additionally, the company downplays Stacy’s contributions to LSI over the years.

“Her personal evaluation of her own performance and qualifications, and her prior performance evaluation, are irrelevant,” the brief states.

Stacy maintains she was dismissed after the company removed “gender identity” as a protected category in its workplace-antibias policy.

But LSI’s brief notes that its current antibias policy forbids all forms of unlawful discrimination.

“Her argument that she was terminated after her ‘gender identity’ protection was removed from the policy simply has no credence,” it states.

Stacy also contends that two superiors made statements indicating that her dismissal was due to her gender transition.

But the brief disputes the content of the alleged statements and refers to them as “stray remarks” that had nothing to do with Stacy’s dismissal.

Stacy’s attorneys have seven days to reply to LSI’s brief.

Then a three-judge panel will rule on the matter after possibly holding oral arguments.

Stacy is seeking an unspecified amount in compensatory and punitive damages, according to court records.

On Feb. 27, Stacy’s attorneys sent a letter to the court requesting 30 minutes to present oral arguments in the case.

Stacy “believes oral argument will assist the panel in reaching a determination by clarifying the facts in the record and the legal issues that must be resolved,” the letter states.

A response to the letter wasn’t issued, at press time.

Neither side had a comment for this story.

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