Purdue to pay $15 million to settle EEOC discrimination lawsuit

Purdue University will pay $5.6 million to resolve a discrimination lawsuit filed against it by an employee who alleged she was fired for being transgender.

Lawyers for the university on Monday said the settlement, which resolves allegations that the university violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, will help them determine if it has an affirmative action policy in place that protects transgender employees from discrimination.

“Purdue is committed to ensuring that all employees, including transgender people, have access to equal opportunity in our workplace, and we are committed to enforcing our Title VII nondiscrimination policies,” the university said in a statement.

The settlement comes as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has charged the university with violating Title VII by failing to properly train its employees and by denying its female employees access to restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity.

The EEOC alleges that the school failed to provide female employees with a comprehensive, inclusive restroom and locker room policy, and discriminated against them by not providing them with equal access to facilities and changing facilities.

Purdue was sued by the student, who has not been identified by name, in 2016 and again in 2018, alleging that she was denied her job, including a position as a nursing assistant, because she was transgender.

The EEOC also said that the company failed to adequately train its female workers on how to deal with harassment, including from male colleagues, as well as sexual harassment, based on their gender identities.

Pegida protesters chant in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.K., February 23, 2021.

In a statement, Purdue said that it had already begun to “address the specific allegations” and that it would “begin to implement an affirmative-action plan in the future.”