Victory! The ACLU, the ACLU of Arkansas, and private counsel filed suit in federal court on behalf of Patricia Dawson against her former employer, H & H Electric, for firing her after she made her transition from male to female apparent at her workplace.

Even though Patricia Dawson had been an electrical apprentice for H & H Electric for four years whose work was highly regarded by supervisors and co-workers, her boss let her go when it became obvious that Dawson is transgender, and was transitioning.

We asserted that firing someone because of their gender transition is sex discrimination under Title VII, the federal law that prohibits employment discrimination. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which investigates and regulates Title VII matters, supported Ms. Dawson, affirming that Title VII does in fact protect workers against sex discrimination based on gender identity. The federal court agreed.

Status:  After the court’s ruling, the parties came to an agreement out of court. The ruling of the EEOC and federal court created important precedent for future claims.


John Burnett

Date filed

September 15, 2015


U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas, Western Division


U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright



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