We filed this sex discrimination lawsuit in 2005 on behalf of Diane Schroer, a retired U.S. Army Colonel with extensive counterterrorism experience whose job offer to be a terrorism analyst at the Library of Congress’ Congressional Research Service was withdrawn when the Library learned that she was transgender. The Library moved to dismiss the case, arguing that Title VII’s ban on discrimination “because of . . . sex” does not ban discrimination against people who are transgender. The court denied that motion, ruling that Title VII may ban such discrimination.

After discovery, the Library again moved to dismiss, relying on expert testimony that “sex” is purely chromosomal. Opposing, we cited other expert testimony that “sex” includes a person’s sense of being a man or a woman in terms of their gender identity. The court again ruled for us, explaining that “Title VII is violated when an employer discriminates against any employee, transsexual or not, because he or she has failed to act or appear sufficiently masculine or feminine enough for an employer,” and finding it “well-established that, as a legal concept, ‘sex’ as used in Title VII refers to much more than which chromosomes a person has.” Thereafter the Library twice sought summary judgment, which was twice denied.

The case went to trial in August 2008 and in September the court found that several of the Library’s stated reasons for refusing to hire Ms. Schroer (e.g., concern about her ability to keep her previous security clearance or her credibility with Members of Congress) were pretexts for discrimination. The court also ruled that whether its conduct was viewed as “sex stereotyping” or as discrimination based on transsexuality, it amounted to discrimination “because of . . . sex” under the law. The Library did not appeal.

In April 2009 the court awarded Ms. Schroer $491,190.80 for back pay, other monetary losses, and emotional distress. In December 2009, the government agreed to pay $725,000 in attorneys’ fees and expenses.

For more case documents, click here to be taken to National ACLU's webpage on the case. 

Date filed

July 1, 2007