Decision finds U.S. Army discriminated against transgender employee

Last week, a landmark determination announced by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) found that a transgender veteran and civilian Army software specialist faced "frequent, pervasive and humiliating,” gender identity discrimination by the Department of the Army. Tamara Lusardi, a transgender woman, was working in the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) at Restone Arsenal in Alabama when she transitioned in 2010 and began being unfairly treated in the workplace.

Lusardi was told that she had to use a single-user, gender-neutral restroom at work to prevent other employees from feeling "uncomfortable" sharing a restroom with her. Even after legally changing her name, Lusardi said coworkers and management referred to her as "it" and "sir," continued using her birth name, and stopped giving her work to do.

“I really care about my job, and I really wanted to be professional,” Lusardi told the Washington Post. “But people were saying, ‘Is it Todd or Tamara, I don’t know,’ and smirking at me, even after I had sent an e-mail explaining my transition.  I just wanted to crawl under the table.”

In addition to finding the Army's treatment of Lusardi to be discriminatory, the OSC report also found no evidence suggesting that Lusardi's transition detrimentally impacted other employees. In response, the Army has agreed to provide anti-discrimination training to employees and is allowing Lusardi to use the women's restroom.