Transgender Woman Wins Discrimination Ruling

September 14, 2006

The Colorado Civil Rights Division has ruled that the firing of a transgender woman was the result of illegal sex discrimination, according to lawyers representing her.

The case involved Danielle M. Cornwell of Arvada, Colo., and her employment with Intermountain Testing Company.

According to attorney Mari Newman, Cornwell was known most of her life as David Cornwell but began transitioning to a female gender in June 2005 and informed the company that she was a transsexual. She was fired a month later by Intermountain Testing of Greenwood Village, Colo., Newman said.

Cornwell had worked for the company for 15 years as a man, according to documents filed in the case.

ITC maintained it discharged Cornwell because of a gradual decline in business and because she was a "low-rated" employee. It also said a male employee in the same department was also let go.

Cornwell stated in an affidavit that she was told, "This is a man's job. A female would have trouble in this field." The complaint pointed out that the only women employed by ITC work in the secretarial areas.

The civil rights division issued a "probable cause" finding against ITC that the company illegally discriminated against Cornwell on the basis of sex when it fired her, Newman said.

"This finding is a great step forward, not only for Ms. Cornwell, but for all transgender victims of discrimination in Colorado,” said Newman of the Denver civil rights firm Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP.

ITC provides testing services to construction and manufacturing industries and employed Cornwell as a radiographer and testing technician.

ITC and Cornwell are scheduled to participate in a mandatory conciliation meeting to attempt to resolve the complaint. The meeting will be held in early October.



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