Valve Facing $3 Million Transgender Discrimination Lawsuit From Former Employee
"He referred to plaintiff as 'it,' which is highly offensive to a transgender person"; Valve denies any wrongdoing and wants suit tossed out.
Big-time video game company Valve is being sued for more than $3 million by a former employee who claims her supervisor referred to her as "it" after she had sex reassignment surgery. Identified by her initials in the lawsuit, she claims Valve was a hostile work environment as a result.
Polygon obtained the lawsuit, which was filed in April 2016. In its May 20 counter, Valve denied any wrongdoing and asked the court to dismiss the suit.
As Polygon reports, the plaintiff, a former translator for Valve, informed Valve in 2012 that she needed to relocate to Los Angeles, where her doctors were, so she could work during her recovery period. Valve agreed, but, as a condition of the request, mandated that she have her job status reclassified as an independent contractor.
As for why she was reportedly let go, earlier this year, she wrote to Valve's human resources department to voice her concerns about the company's reported use of unpaid translators. Some of these translators were "very young minors," according to the suit.
Just days after filing the official complaint, she found herself out of a job, the lawsuit explains. According to the complaint, Valve said her job was being moved back to the company's headquarters in Washington, but even after she agreed to move, Valve "refused," according to the lawsuit.
"The real reason for termination was that plaintiff was complaining about the hostile work environment and illegal business practices ...moreover, plaintiff was terminated due to her transgender status," reads a line from the lawsuit.
"While defendants accommodated her at first, her direct supervisor referred to her in derogatory fashion," the lawsuit goes on. "He referred to plaintiff as 'it,' which is highly offensive to a transgender person."
In its counter claim, Valve said, "Defendant denies each and every material allegation of plaintiff's unverified complaint, and further denies that plaintiff has been damaged in any manner or amount, or at all, as a result of any act or omission by defendant."
The former employee is seeking $1 million each for damages, special damages, and loss of earnings. She is also asking for $150,000 to cover unpaid wages and penalties. Additionally, the former employee is seeking punitive damages at an amount to be decided by the court. She is seeking a trial by jury.
GameSpot has contacted Valve in an attempt to get more details. We will update this post as new information comes to light.