The Philadelphia Daily news reports of a local woman, Pauline Davis, getting fired from her job for wearing a prosthetic penis. Davis works at a local snack food manufacturer, J&J Snack Foods, and is entering into a lawsuit against it. At the time, she was working as a line inspector for the company.
At the time, Davis was considering a gender change, and wanted to try it on for size before making the switch. She confided in a few coworkers about her contemplation. Someone leaked the news to management. It seemed that a fake penis was just too juicy of office gossip to keep quiet. Once management got hold of the information, Davis lost her job at J&J Snack Foods.
The 45-year-old woman filed a federal civil rights complaint with the US District Court last week against her former employer, J&J Snack Foods, claiming gender identity and gender discrimination. In her claim, she explains that a male coworker wears female prosthetic devices and dresses like a female. However, this man has not been asked to stop, disciplined, and definitely not fired. While it was wrong enough to discriminate against her contemplation to change genders, the male coworker in the same situation surely added gas to the fire.
In March 2010, she filed her first complaint with Philadelphia’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission office. The initial claim stated that she was suffering from gender and gender identity discrimination. However, she has decided to take it a step further after being ignored numerous times. In the lawsuit against J&J Snack Foods she is desiring to win payment for the punitive damages, humiliation, suffering, as well as back pay for her time out of work.
Notice, however, that Davis is not seeking out a lawsuit based on discrimination for being transsexual or transgender. The reasoning behind this lies in the fact that federal law does not protect those two characteristics from discrimination. Any transgender or transsexual person that feels discriminated against must file a suit like any other gender discrimination that takes place. While the headline, “Woman fired for fake penis,” may seem unusual, the case itself will likely play out as any other sexual discrimination lawsuit seen by the court.
Lalena J. Turchi, Davis’ lawyer, assured the newspaper that her prosthetic was concealed and did not hinder her from doing her job. She told the daily news that her fake penis “in no way interfered with her ability to do her job.”