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Labor & Employment

Nixed for Urination-Monitor Job Over Birth Gender, Worker Files Unusual Discrimination Suit

Posted Apr 11, 2011 12:24 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Born physically female, 39-year-old El’Jai Devoureau is now male according to his birth certificate, driver's license and social security card, following a course of male hormones and sex-change surgery.

But after he was hired by Urban Treatment Associates in Camden to watch men provide urine samples at a drug-treatment center—to make sure they weren't substituting someone else's product—Devoureau was fired when his supervisor heard he was transgender, the New York Times reports (reg. req.).

“I said I was male, and she asked if I had any surgeries,” he tells the newspaper. “I said that was private and I didn’t have to answer, and I was fired.”

Now represented by Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, he has filed a discrimination suit in Camden Superior Court.

New Jersey is among a minority of states that prohibit discrimination based on an individual's transgender status. Michael Silverman of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, which is helping Devoureau bring the case, says it is the first lawsuit in the country to take on the question of the sex of a transgender person.

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