A&E Tire Inc. has agreed to settle a lawsuit for $60,000 and to write a letter of apology after a transgender man sued them for allegedly discriminating against him during the hiring process.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit in September 2017 on behalf of Egan Woodward after A&E Tire Inc. took back their offer once they found out he was transgender.
On May 16, 2014, manager Derrick Haight interviewed Woodward for a managerial position in the company and everything seemed to go well. The lawsuit said that Haight told Woodward he had the job as long as he completed screenings and drug tests.
When Woodward was filling out the forms for the background check, he used his previous name, usually associated with females, and identified his gender as female. Haight then called Woodward to verify that he checked female on the form and Woodward replied “yes.”
“Haight abruptly hung up after stating, ‘Oh, that’s all I need,’” the lawsuit said.
Woodward tried to contact the company several times about his employment over the next three weeks. When he finally got ahold of Haight on June 10, 2014, Haight told him the job was given to another applicant.
Marilee Langhoff, the attorney for A&E Tire Inc., argued against the allegation in the lawsuit and said that Woodward was told he was a good candidate, but was never offered the job.
Langhoff said the company decided to hire “another individual who was considerably more experienced and also protected by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.” She added that the company decided to settle to avoid future time and costs.
“We appreciate A&E Tire’s agreement to settle this lawsuit, and we are proud to have obtained an effective resolution that compensates Egan for what he experienced and helps ensure that other transgender applicants and employees will be treated fairly,” Mary Jo O’Neill, regional attorney in the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, said in a news release.