Transgender American TV personality sues network for $2.5 million

by Redmans on August 12, 2013

  • SumoMe

The Daily Mail reports that a transgender TV personality is suing the network that she appears on after she claims that she was discriminated against because of her gender orientation.

B. Scott, born Brandon Scott Sessoms, 32, claims that he was discriminated against at the recent BET Awards because he was wearing women’s clothes. He was scheduled to be working as a correspondent at the awards and claims that his outfit (a flowing black tunic and black trousers) had been pre-aprroved by producers of the awards. However, when he turned up at the ceremony in the outfit he claims that he was “literally yanked backstage” and told that the outfit was unacceptable. B. Scott claims that he was then forced to put on male clothing, tone down his makeup and not wear the high heels he had been intending to wear for the show.

Based on the above, B Scott has launched a lawsuit against BET’s parent company Viacom, alleging that he had been discriminated against because of his gender identity. According to the Daily Mail, the lawsuit apparently claims that B Scott suffered damage to his public persona and that he suffered substantial emotional distress as a result of the incident. He has apparently passed the first stage of the proceedings, obtaining a “right to sue” letter from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing Discrimination. He is apparently looking to claim $2.5 million in damages from Viacom.

Employers in the United Kingdom have similar obligations to not discriminate against their employees as their counterparts in the United States. If employers are looking to implement a dress code then they should be careful to ensure that such a dress code does not substantially disadvantage a group of employees that possess a particular protected characteristic (i.e. employees of a particular gender or gender orientation or nationality or religion etc.), otherwise they may face a claim for indirect discrimination in the Employment Tribunal.

Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor at Redmans Solicitors, commented on the case: “This is an American case but it does usefully demonstrate the problems that employers can have when attempting to impose certain dress codes upon employees. Employers in the UK must be very careful that any policy that they implement isn’t discriminatory or – if it is – then they can justify it as having a legitimate aim and being proportionate in the circumstances.”

Redmans Solicitors are employment law solicitors offering settlement agreement legal advice

Previous post:

Next post: