A gay maintenance worker has sued the Oregon State Hospital, claiming he was bullied, harassed and discriminated against by supervisors and administrators after they learned of his sexual orientation.
Brett Goodman, is suing the state hospital, the Oregon Health Authority, which oversees it, and five employees of the Oregon State Hospital — including Goodman’s union representative, the director of operations, the director of facilities, and two supervisors — alleging that he was assaulted, threatened, and harassed on the job, and that those in positions of power or influence knew about his mistreatment on the job. When he complained about the harassment, he was reassigned to cleaning the bathrooms and other custodial duties.
In the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, Goodman claims the five individual defendants violated his freedom of expression, under the First Amendment, to “come out” as gay; that OHA failed to train the individual defendants on how not to violate the constitutional rights of LGBTQ individuals, constituting “deliberate indifference”; and that the hospital has a “custom, policy, and practice of allowing its employees to foster a hostile working environment towards its gay employees, and to retaliate against those individuals who report such unlawful conduct.”
Goodman is seeking an unspecified amount in economic and non-economic damages for the discrimination he faced on the job and for lost wages that he otherwise would have earned had he not been reassigned to cleaning bathrooms (as his compensation would have been higher had he remained as a laborer/student worker). He is also seeking payment of attorney fees incurred in the process of bringing the lawsuit.
According to The Lund Report, an Oregon-based publication focusing on health care-related news, allegations of discrimination and harassment at Oregon state agencies have come under scrutiny in recent years. Last year, the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office conducted an audit finding that the Department of Administrative Services, the state government’s central human resources clearinghouse, fails to provide sufficient oversight of investigations relating to workplace discrimination or harassment, and does not track or analyze data on allegations or investigations.
That audit also revealed that state agencies are “inconsistent in how they conduct investigations, with differing timelines, procedures, and documentation standards.” It also suggested that tracking and analyzing investigation data could better help determine whether allegations of workplace discrimination or harassment are being handled appropriately, and if any additional action is needed to remedy underlying or systemic problems within state agencies in order to avoid future lawsuits.
The Oregon State Hospital has declined to comment on the lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, Goodman was hired by the hospital in February 2016 as a custodian, and transferred to working as a laborer, where he helped journey-level trades workers, in 2019. In 2020, his work was expanded to include medical equipment maintenance.
In 2020, Goodman claims he told a co-worker, Robert Peterson, who was also the SEIU representative for OSH employees, that he was gay. Peterson was reportedly “shocked” by the disclosure, and soon after, began physically assaulting Goodman, slapping him on the back of the head, punching, shoving and kicking him, tackling him to the ground and knocking coffee out of his hand. Goodman also alleges Peterson referred to him as a “pussy.” These assaults and verbal attacks were witnessed by other workers, he claims.
Goodman claims Peterson directed a painter to paint Goodman’s locker pink and sprinkle it with glitter, while surrounding lockers were painted white. Peterson also allegedly had the hospital provide Goodman with a pink iPhone instead of a black iPhone, like other workers.
After he complained about the harassment to the human resources department, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, and law enforcement agencies, and filed a grievance with his union, Goodman says he was demoted from repairing medical equipment and ordered to perform extra custodial duties. He also claims he found one of his work desks flipped over and another one emptied with all of its contents placed on top of it, according to the lawsuit. He eventually sought and was granted a “voluntary demotion” from his job in order to avoid continued discrimination and harassment.
A transgender Vanderbilt University employee is suing the university, claiming she was bullied, harassed and viciously mocked by her co-workers after she began transitioning at work.
Olivia Hill, a U.S. Naval veteran who worked for the university's cogeneration plant for 25 years, claims in a lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee on Wednesday, that the mistreatment she suffered on the job began in mid-2018, after she informed her employer she'd been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and would be transitioning at work.
Soon after, she learned that a direct supervisor was referring to her as "it," a "trans freak," and a "weirdo." The negative reaction made Hill -- the only woman employee at the plant -- second-guess pursuing gender confirmation surgery, prompting her to delay the surgery until February 2019. She returned to work in May 2019, after the surgery, but the mistreatment continued. She says some people would leave rooms as she entered, while others made crude or sexually suggestive remarks.
By Rudy Malcom on September 28, 2021
Hundreds of students walked out of a Texas high school on Wednesday, claiming discrimination against queer students and teachers.
Many of those protesting at MacArthur High School in Irving wore heart-shaped rainbow stickers on their faces -- symbols of solidarity with LGBTQ students that were suddenly taken down from many teachers’ doors and windows.
Texas TV station WFAA reports that teachers had put up the “safe space” stickers last year, including Rachel Stonecipher. She told a Dallas CBS affiliate that the Safe Space poster outside her classroom disappeared.
A federal appeals court has ordered an Oklahoma university to reinstate a transgender English professor -- with tenure -- after ruling that she was denied tenure and ultimately fired after transitioning on the job.
On Monday, a three-judge panel of the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected Southeastern Oklahoma State University's claim that it could not reinstate professor Rachel Tudor due to hostility created over the six years of back-and-forth litigation since the lawsuit, alleging sex discrimination, was launched in 2015.
The Obama-era U.S. Department of Justice sued the university on Tudor's behalf, marking the first time it had filed a sex discrimination lawsuit on behalf of a transgender person. The department settled with the school in 2017, but Tudor had intervened in the case after former President Donald Trump was elected, and chose to pursue the lawsuit on her own, eventually winning a jury verdict of $1 million later that year.
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