University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Broussard v. First Tower Loan, LLC EE-LA-0118
Docket / Court 2:15-cv-01161 ( E.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Attorney Organization National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)
Southern Poverty Law Center
Case Summary
On April 13, 2015, a transgender man who was fired because he refused to agree to dress and be treated as a woman while at work filed this suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The plaintiff sued his employer under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C ... read more >
On April 13, 2015, a transgender man who was fired because he refused to agree to dress and be treated as a woman while at work filed this suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The plaintiff sued his employer under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. § 200e et seq.). The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, sought declaratory and injunctive relief, in addition to back pay and compensatory and punitive damages. The plaintiff alleged that the local branch of his former employer had discriminated against him on the basis of sex, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the vice president of the company flew to his branch office shortly after learning that the plaintiff was a transgender man. The vice president then attempted to get the plaintiff to sign a statement that required the plaintiff to either present and be treated as a woman while at work or lose his job. The plaintiff refused to sign and was terminated. The plaintiff then filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, which found that the plaintiff had been discriminated against and issued a Notice of a Right to Sue. On September 1, 2015, the EEOC filed a notice of intent to intervene in the case, and the intervention was granted on September 16, 2015. The case was assigned to District Judge Carl Barbier.

On September 2, 2015, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss the case based on improper venue, which the court denied on October 2, 2015. 135 F. Supp. 3d 540. On November 5, 2015, the defendant filed a motion to compel arbitration and to stay proceedings. The defendant pointed out that the plaintiff signed an employment agreement that included an arbitration provision. The court agreed with the defendant that enforcement of the arbitration provision did not violate plaintiff's Seventh Amendment right to a trial by jury, citing the standard stated by the Fifth Circuit that “in enacting the Federal Arbitration Act, Congress declared a national policy in favor of arbitration.” Therefore, the court granted the motion to compel arbitration and stay proceedings on December 10, 2015. 150 F. Supp. 3d 709. The EEOC's motion to reconsider staying the EEOC's claims because its claims are not referable to arbitration was denied on March 7, 2016. The EEOC's claims were then stayed pending completion of the arbitration. 2016 WL 879995. On December 1, 2016, the plaintiff notified the court of the arbitrator’s decision.

The arbitrator found that the defendant had discriminated against the plaintiff because the defendant had used sex and gender stereotypes in its treatment of the plaintiff. The arbitrator found that, by trying to force the plaintiff to present and be treated as female, the defendant had violated Title VII. The arbitrator awarded the plaintiff $43,162 for lost wages and $10,000 for emotional distress. No injunctive relief was granted by the arbitrator.

After the plaintiff filed the arbitrator's award with the court, the EEOC continued to litigate the case. On October 5, 2017, the court entered a consent decree. The defendant agreed to revise its equal employment opportunity policies within 60 days, train employees to conform to the new policies, and post notice of what constitutes a violation of equal employment opportunity policies. The decree was to last 18 months, and was set to terminate on April 5, 2019. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission retained its ability to seek relief for any alleged violation of the decree. The parties also agreed to bear their own attorneys fees and costs.

The consent decree ran without any further actions in court, so presumably the case is now closed.

Sihang Zhang - 01/08/2017
Keagan Potts - 03/20/2019
Olivia Wheeling - 10/18/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Monitoring
Provide antidiscrimination training
Training
Discrimination-area
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Discrimination-basis
Gender identity
Sex discrimination
EEOC-centric
EEOC Intervened in Private Suit
General
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Plaintiff Type
EEOC Plaintiff
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Non-court arbitration/mediation
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Defendant(s) First Tower Loan, LLC
Plaintiff Description A transgender man who was fired for not agreeing to present and be treated as a woman while in the workplace.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)
Southern Poverty Law Center
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2017 - 2019
Filing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
2:15−cv−01161−CJB−SS (E.D. La.)
EE-LA-0118-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/05/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint of Sex Discrimination in Violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [ECF# 1]
EE-LA-0118-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/13/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Motion to Dismiss (135 F.Supp.3d 540) (E.D. La.)
EE-LA-0118-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/02/2015
Source: Westlaw
Order & Reasons [ECF# 113] (150 F.Supp.3d 709) (E.D. La.)
EE-LA-0118-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/10/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Award and Opinion of Arbitrator [ECF# 138-1] (E.D. La.)
EE-LA-0118-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/05/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Decree [ECF# 152] (E.D. La.)
EE-LA-0118-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/05/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Barbier, Carl J. (E.D. La.) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-0002 | EE-LA-0118-0003 | EE-LA-0118-0004 | EE-LA-0118-9000
Meerveld, Janis Van Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chisholm, Barbara J. (California) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-0001 | EE-LA-0118-9000
Delaney, Ryan P. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-0001 | EE-LA-0118-9000
Dinielli, David Carter (Alabama) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-0001
Finberg, James M. (California) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-0001 | EE-LA-0118-9000
Gwin, Michael O'Mara (Mississippi) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-9000
Huffstetler, Scott Deloss (Louisiana) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-9000
Kilgore, Erin Lutkewitte (Louisiana) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-9000
McCoy, Scott D. (Alabama) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-9000
Milam, Kenneth E. (Mississippi) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-9000
Minter, Shannon (California) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-0001
Orr, Asaf (California) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-0001
Pitts, P. Casey (California) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-0001 | EE-LA-0118-9000
Vermeulen, Zoe Wilde (Louisiana) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-9000
Whelan, Amy E. (California) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-0001 | EE-LA-0118-9000
Whitaker, David M. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-9000
Wolfe, Samuel (Alabama) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-0001 | EE-LA-0118-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Cockrell, Corrie Wynette (Mississippi) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-9000
Ezie, A. Chinyere (Alabama) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-0001 | EE-LA-0118-9000
Johnson, Elissa F (Mississippi) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-9000
Owens, Jody E. II (Mississippi) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-9000
Other Lawyers Butler, Michelle T (Louisiana) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-9000
Juarez, Edward (Texas) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-9000
Juge, Gregory T. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-9000
Navarre Davis, Alexandra V. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-9000
Sacher, Jim (Texas) show/hide docs
EE-LA-0118-9000

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