Settlement Resolves EEOC Lawsuit Alleging the Tire Company Had Failed to Hire a Transgender Applicant

Monday, April 15, 2019

DENVER, Colo. - Colorado tire company A&E Tire, Inc. will pay $60,000 and provide other significant relief to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, A&E Tire offered a job to Egan Woodward, but did not hire him after it learned that he was transgender. The EEOC alleged that A&E Tire offered Mr. Woodward the job subject to a background check but then called Mr. Woodward when it saw that he had checked female on his background screening paperwork. According to the EEOC, A&E Tire then decided not to hire Mr. Woodward and ultimately hired someone else for the position.

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The EEOC settled the lawsuit after months of discovery and a court order denying A&E Tire's motion to dismiss the lawsuit. In denying the motion to dismiss, the district court held that the lawsuit could proceed because the EEOC plausibly alleged that A&E Tire had not hired Mr. Woodward because he did not conform to sex stereotypes. In doing so, the district court recognized that discrimination against transgender individuals is discrimination based on sex stereotyping because transgender individuals identify as a sex different from their birth-assigned sex.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on sex. The EEOC filed this suit in the District of Colorado (EEOC v. A&E Tire, Inc., Civil Action No. 17-cv-02362-RBJ), seeking monetary and injunctive relief. Mr. Woodward intervened, also alleging that A&E Tire violated Title VII. The consent decree resolving this lawsuit provides that A&E Tire will pay Mr. Woodward $60,000 and send him a letter of apology. The consent decree also requires A&E Tire to make clear in its employment policies that it will not tolerate sex discrimination, including discrimination based on sex stereotyping and transgender status, and to train its managers and employees on the laws prohibiting those forms of discrimination. 

 "We appreciate A&E Tire's agreement to settle this lawsuit, and we are proud to have obtained an effective resolution that compensates Egan for what he experienced and helps ensure that other transgender applicants and employees will be treated fairly," said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O'Neill of the EEOC's Phoenix District Office. "The settlement underscores the EEOC's commitment to eradicating all forms of sex discrimination, including discrimination against LGBTQ individuals."

EEOC Denver Field Office Director Amy Burkholder added, "The EEOC has been successful for many years protecting transgender applicants and employees from discrimination based on sex. I am pleased we were able to work out an agreement in this matter."  

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