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Technology services firm settles EEOC transgender bias charges

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A higher education technology services firm has agreed to pay $140,000 to settle U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charges it violated federal discrimination law when it agreed to bar an employee who had just announced plans to transition from male to female from a college campus worksite.

The EEOC said in a statement Thursday that at the unidentified college's request, Fairfax, Virginia-based Ellucian Co. L.P. barred the employee from access to her workplace on its Minneapolis-area campus the day after she informed co-workers she planned to transition from male to female.

Ellucian was performing contracted informational technology work for the college, the EEOC said in a statement.

The EEOC said the company's actions violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In addition to paying the $140,000 to the employee, the conciliation agreement requires Ellucian to modify its code of conduct to include anti-discrimination provisions for gender identity and to provide employee training, among other provisions, the EEOC said.

“We appreciate that Ellucian worked cooperatively with EEOC to resolve this charge without having to go through protracted litigation,” said Julianne Bowman, district director of the EEOC's Chicago district office, in a statement. “As a result of this agreement, Ellucian is helping to lead the way for transgender employees to enjoy equal rights in the workplace in Minnesota.”

An Ellucian spokesman said, “We are pleased that we were able to come to an agreement.” She said it was against company policy to say whether the employee continues to work for Ellucian.