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Employment Law/Claim of sleeping on he job


I work for the university of Kentucky as an administrator for 23 years.  A year ago I was forced to due close that I was transgender and transitioning on the job.  Everything went fine until a new chairman was hired.  Since then I have been receiving sub oar evaluations, previous evals were always near excellent.  In addition he keeps trying to accuse me of various infractions, most if which turn out to be baseless.  The most recent issue is I was suspended for sleeping on the job.  I believe this stems from people thinking when I lay down on break that I am sleeping.  However, I gave to lay down because I keep getting migraine headaches an take aspirin an try laying down with light out to alleviate them.  I'm under a doctors care for this issue and probably have yo gave surgery because of a collapsed nasal valve which is probably causing the headaches.  I was not given the chance to tell them this because they just came in and relieved me.  So the question is two fold, can I be fired for sleeping on the job if no one has ever seen me sleeping on the job, just assuming because I lie down on break.  And is this pattern of issues harassment, because of my gender identity.  I just wan to do my job and be left alone, but this person doesn't seem to be willing to do that.

Rikki - Understand that employers can fire employees for just about any reason except one that is specifically designated as illegal.  Not liking the way you look at a manager can result in a lawful termination in the absence of an employment contract or union bargaining agreement.   Do you have either of these?

You have to get a letter from your doctor explaining about your migraines right away, to protect you from further incidents like the one you described.   The Americans with Disabilities Act can give you some rights regarding your medical needs at work, but you have to ask for the accommodation and tell them why you need it.  They can ask for a doctor's letter, so arrange to have one sent by your doctor.   That should keep you safe on the migraine front.  

I doubt that your state has declared transgendered status to be a protected classification, but I also doubt that a university would want to be accused publicly of that kind of discrimination.   Have a chat with your HR Department about the problem with your boss and ask them to intervene.  You could call your nearest EEOC office and ask how or whether they could help if you continue to have problems.   I know they have intervened in similar cases even without having the definition expanded to cover LGBT individuals.  Eventually, even Kentucky will have to catch up.  Best of luck - write back if you ned additional assistance.

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Margaret M. deMarteleire


I can answer most questions about employment law, federal or state. I am an attorney, not an HR professional, so questions about HR careers, coursework, prospects, etc. are not within my scope.


Attorney for 20 years, currently working exclusively with employment law - FLSA, FMLA, federal contracts, pay, etc.

Temple University School of Liberal Arts, BA, Rhetoric & Communication, 1982 Temple University School of Law, JD, 1990 Certificate in HR, Cornell University ILR School, 2006

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