Russian transgender woman wins discrimination lawsuit against former employer

Russian transgender woman, Anastasia Vasilyeva, has won a landmark discrimination lawsuit against her former employer after they fired her in 2017.

Russian transgender woman

In a historical lawsuit, a Russian transgender woman has successfully sued her former employers after she was fired from her position shortly after she began to socially transition in work.

Despite her winning the trial, a landmark moment for transgender rights and recognition in Russia, she is concerned that her private information has been made public by the Russian media is afraid for her safety.

In order to protect her anonymity, many media outlets have been using the name Anastasia Vasilyeva when referring to the woman, which GCN will also be doing.

Anastasia was fired from her job at a Russian printing press back in 2017 after she came out as a transgender woman and officially changed her gender on her government identification documents.

The issues began much earlier in 2014 when Anastasia who had begun to medically transition realised that her colleagues had also started to see the changes in her appearance.

She explained the experience saying: “I felt uncomfortable — everyone saw that something was happening with me, but no one could ask directly.”

Anastasia left with little options, went to her superiors for support before sending out a company-wide memo explaining to her fellow colleagues that she was a transgender woman and was transitioning.

Although management seemed to be supportive in the beginning the company soon changed their tone, and fired Anastasia in 2017 after repeatedly citing rules surrounding women working at the site in the years prior and trying to get her to leave the company on her own accord. 

When she brought the company to court in April of 2019 they made reference to a list of 456 professions deemed “too dangerous” for women in Russia as grounds for firing Anastasia, however, this did not work and Anastasia won the lawsuit for unlawful dismissal.

Although the company appealed these charges, their appeal was rejected last Tuesday, June 16, 2020. The decision means that Anastasia will be awarded over 1.85 million rubles (approximately 23,650 ) in compensation.

However, she says it’s not about the money, it’s about the progress for LGBT+ and women’s rights in the workplace in Russia.

She explained: “The court’s decision is important for me, first and foremost in the context of women’s rights, without the prefix ‘transgender,’” she said. “It seems to me that it’s important for anyone to have the possibility to work wherever they want.

© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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