Philadelphia Settles Transgender Case For $382k

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City officials have agreed to pay $382,500 to settle the federal antibias lawsuit filed by transgender city worker Bobbie E. Burnett.

Greg Kabel

The settlement was reached April 29, after the involvement of U.S. Magistrate Judge David R. Strawbridge.

The city is expected to pay the money by July 31, according to court records.

Burnett, a city library assistant, filed suit in 2009, claiming pervasive anti-LGBT workplace bias.

She contended the city began mistreating her in 2002, shortly after she transitioned to the opposite gender.

Coworkers allegedly hurled slurs at her, including “freak,” “monster,” “devil,” “nigger” and “man in women’s clothing.”

Her managers allegedly limited Burnett’s ability to interact with the public, prevented her from using gender-appropriate restrooms and cited her for frivolous workplace infractions.

“I’m very grateful that it’s over,” Burnett said. “The settlement is substantial, and I feel a sense of personal vindication.”

She’ll continue working as a library assistant for the city, she added.

In agreeing to the settlement, the city acknowledges no wrongdoing in the matter.

Burnett, 58, said she wants to put the litigation behind her.

“It’s been a long journey, and the city threw mud at me throughout the entire process,” Burnett said. “They trashed my good name, and I hope this settlement will at least stop that part of it.”

She expressed appreciation for her attorneys, John W. Beavers and Kristine W. Holt.

Burnett said a significant portion of the settlement will pay for their legal expenses.

“I’m very grateful for their wonderful representation during this grueling experience,” she added.

Beavers expressed hope that the settlement will deter city officials from any future mistreatment of Burnett.

“If they do it again, they’ll be sued again,” he said.

The case was expected to go to a jury trial in September if a settlement couldn’t be reached.

“We did as good as we felt we could do,” Beavers said. “It was an ordeal for Bobbie to have to relive all the trauma while the litigation was pending. So settling the case was the best thing for her.”

Burnett said she has no regrets, and would do it all again.

“I don’t regret having stood up for my rights,” she said. “I think it’s important to ensure the LGBT community has equal civil rights with everyone else.”

Mark McDonald, a spokesperson for the Nutter administration, had no comment at presstime.

From our media partner PGN-The Philadelphia Gay News.


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