Transsexual Loses $1M Discrimination Case
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Posted: January 8, 2007 – 3:00 pm ET
(London) An American transsexual woman who says she was forced out of a job at Hitachi Data Systems in London has lost the biggest discrimination case brought by a transgendered person under Britain’s anti-bias law.
Jessica Bussert had sought $1-million in damages from the multi-national company.
The law applies to any employee who intends to undergo gender reassignment, is going through the process or has already done so. But an employment tribunal ruled Monday that she had left “of her own free will”.
When Bussert, 41, began transitioning she, the woman she married while still identifying as male, and their two children transferred from Hitachi in Indiana to the company’s British operation, believing the UK to be a more tolerant society.
She said she made the decision to move in 2004 following the murder of a 19-year old transgendered woman in the US.
While working in the London office other workers began to comment on Bussert’s long hair and other physical changes due to hormone therapy so she began to let people know she was transitioning she said.
In her court filings in the civil case against Hitachi Bussert said that her boss, Steve Larkin, made a disparaging remark about transsexuals and said he did not want any of “these people” working for him.
The suit also claimed that Larkin without consulting Bussert made changes to business agreements she had reached, destroying her credibility with colleagues.
The following year Bussert took six weeks’ sick leave, out of the six months to which she was entitled and returned to the US for breast surgery.
When she reported back for duty in England, Bussert’s suit says, she was
effectively demoted although her $168,000 salary remained the same.
As the work environment continued to worsen Bussert filed a discrimination claim with Hitachi but the lawsuit claimed the situation still deteriorated and she suffered “stress causing clinical depression, with anxiety and panic
When she returned to sick leave Hitachi stopped paying her.
In its ruling the tribunal said that Bussert technically had not been fired and that Bussert had left on her own volition.
Last August the British government ordered Bussert and her family to leave the country since she no longer was employed. She returned to Indiana and pursued the case from there.
Bussert still has a lawsuit for $3.6 million against Hitachi in the US.