On a below-freezing January morning, Jennifer Chavez, an automobile technician, sat in a car that she was repairing to keep warm while waiting for delayed auto parts to arrive. Without intending to, she nodded off. Her employer promptly fired her for sleeping on the job. At least, that is the justification her employer gave. But Chavez had reason to believe that her coming out as transgender motivated the termination. In the months leading up to the January incident, Chavez’s supervisor had told her to “tone things down” when she talked about her gender transition. The repair-shop owner said that the transition made him “nervous” and could “impact his business,” claiming that it had prompted a prospective employee to decline a job offer. The owner had also instructed Chavez not to wear “a dress or miniskirt” or “too feminine attire” to and from work.
Before coming out as transgender, Chavez was an “excellent employee” with a spotless disciplinary history. After coming out, things changed. The repair-shop management acted on advice from an attorney to begin writing up Chavez for issues “one at a time” with a “focus on work and performance.” The accidental nap may have been exactly the opportunity they needed.
Noelle N. Wyman,
Because of Bostock,
Mich. L. Rev. Online
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr_online/vol119/iss1/6