LEXINGTON, S.C. (CN) - A South Carolina city discriminated against a transgender public safety employee by making him use a woman's bulletproof vest after he had gender reassignment surgery, he claims in court.
Marion Gregory Green fka Maria Gisell Green sued the City of Cayce in Lexington County Court. Cayce, pop. 13,000, is the seat of Lexington County. It is the only defendant in the complaint.
Green went to work as for the city as a public safety officer trainee in July 2006. During the next five years, while "presenting" as a woman, Green worked in law enforcement, fire suppression, victim's assistance and animal control, he says in the complaint.
In February 2011, he says, he informed his supervisors, including Sgt. David Hoffman, and his fellow officers of his decision to have gender reassignment surgery and to live as a man.
He applied for FMLA leave and in October 2011 underwent surgery, changing his gender to male.
"When he returned to work, the plaintiff requested a new duty bulletproof vest from the supply sergeant and a new SWAT bulletproof vest from Lt. Mike Gearon. He was assigned vests that were made for a female and no longer fit properly, thus creating a safety concern. Plaintiff's female duty vest would expire in 2011 so he needed a new duty vest regardless of his surgery. The plaintiff was not assigned a new duty or SWAT vest," Green says in the complaint.
"[Lt. Tom] Steinbring informed the plaintiff that a male officer who was trying out for SWAT was being fitted for a SWAT bulletproof vest, but not the plaintiff, who needed a new one due to his gender reassignment surgery," Green claims.
He says this was not the only discrimination he has suffered.
"While the plaintiff was out of work on FMLA leave, his work mailbox was moved to a lower level and different shift. The mailboxes were arranged by rank and shift," the complaint states.
Green claims: "Within two weeks of returning from having gender reassignment surgery, Sgt. Hoffman and Lt. Steinbring met with the plaintiff and demoted him from the rank of corporal, a rank which the plaintiff had held for approximately two years, allegedly because he was on probation for an incident that happened in or about July/August 2011.
"Other officers who are not transgender and who conformed to typical gender stereotypes were not demoted when they were placed on probation."
Then in December 2011, Lt. Steinbring "informed the plaintiff he could not perform police duties because he was a liability to the Public Safety Department," Green claims. He says he was reassigned to dispatch in fire safety.
"The plaintiff made repeated attempts to determine whether he needed any clearance beyond the medical clearance from his treating physician. He asked Lt. Steinbring and Sgt. Hoffman, but to no avail," he says.
Finally, Green says, he was terminated in December 2011, on pretextual grounds.
He seeks lost wages and damages for discrimination and civil rights violations.
He is represented by Tandi R. Card of Columbia, S.C.