Diane Roberts, a transgender woman in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is suing her former employer, ABF Freight Inc., for discrimination, harassment, and firing her.
The details in Roberts’ court filing show how much harassment she allegedly suffered before ultimately losing her job, from being forced to use a filthy restroom that was vandalized with a penis on the door to getting regularly deadnamed and misgendered.
Roberts started working for ABF Freight as a diesel technician in May 2013. Then, in December that year, she announced to the company’s Human Resources department and her manager that she intended to transition.
At the time, no other women worked at the facility and all her other co-workers were male. Because of this, the building lacked restrooms or locker rooms where women could relieve themselves and change into their work uniforms.
Roberts suggested that the downstairs bathroom be converted to accommodate her gender. She also asked for a female uniform and for several days off at the start of February 2016 during which time the company would inform her co-workers of her transition, her pronouns and other anti-harassment and discrimination protocols using resources from the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico (TRCNM) so she could safely return as her female self afterwards.
The company agreed to all these conditions and, Robert says, they broke nearly all these promises. They didn’t contact TRCNM, they refused to get her a female uniform, supervisors regularly misgendered her, and one regularly played loud radio programs bashing the transgender people well within her earshot.
Instead of making the downstairs restroom a women’s restroom as promised, Roberts said they made it gender neutral and allowed other male employees and visitors to use it even though male employees already had their own designated restroom.
After Roberts returned to work, someone drew a penis on the bathroom door, covered its doorknob in engine grease, glued its light switch in the off position and regularly tore her air fresheners off the wall, and left foul-smelling things in its garbage can. Co-workers also began urinating in the bathroom with the door open. The company never investigated any of this, Roberts claims, and generally refused to clean the bathroom.