A former county corrections officer in Mississippi is suing her employer, alleging that she was fired because she is transgender.
Elise Hebert, a prison guard in Chickasaw County, is seeking back wages and damages for sexual harassment that she claims she was subjected to while on the job.
In her lawsuit, Hebert claims that she was harassed after her fellow officers at the county jail learned of her gender identity, reports NBC affiliate WTVA.
After being hired, Hebert claims that Brand Huffman, the warden, confronted her and asked about her past. He pulled her into an office with George Dallas, the chief of security at the prison, making Hebert feel embarrassed, offended, and uncomfortable at being the only female in the room.
Hebert asked that her transgender status be kept confidential, but it became apparent that her gender identity was not only widely known, but was being discussed among her co-workers and even some inmates.
Hebert claims she was subjected to derogatory and humiliating statements concerning her sexuality and gender at work, was never paid on time, leaving her at times without enough money to fill her gas tank so she could get to work, and was targeted by other officers and superiors, who lodged complaints about her behavior on the job, even though it was no different from that of her male co-workers.
She claims she was targeted because her behavior did not conform to stereotypes about how women are supposed to behave — which would be considered a form of sex-based discrimination.
Hebert says she complained to her superiors, as well as to Sheriff James Meyers, about her treatment, but no action was ever taken. Due to the complaints against her, she was eventually fired.
Hebert’s attorney, Lisa Bennett, told WTVA she has not received a response from the county in reaction to the lawsuit. The county has by Nov. 30 to respond.