Valve are currently facing a complex and massive lawsuit, in which a former employee is suing for $3.1 million (£2.1m) in damages.
Polygon first reported on the lawsuit, which was filed by a currently unnamed former Valve employee. The complainant seeks damages for alleging transgender discrimination, misclassification of employment, retaliation for whistle blowing, and more.
The former employee claims her supervisor referred to her as “it” after she had sex reassignment surgery. She suggests that Valve was a hostile work environment as a result of this.
Let’s break it down a little more. The employee, whose job entailed translating content into Spanish and acting as an internal liaison for Spanish-speaking law enforcement, worked in the company’s Washington office.
Back in 2012, she decided to undertake a gender transition in Los Angeles. Valve approved her move, and allowed her to work from home, but with one condition- she was required to move from full-time to an independent contractor.
As you might imagine, an independent contractor is not privy to the same benefits or wages as a full time employee. Her suit also alleges that she wasn’t paid overtime wages.
So why was she let go? Around January this year, she wrote to Valve’s human resources department. She was concerned about the company’s reported treatment of unpaid translators. The suit claims that some of these translators were “very young minors,”.
Days after filing the complaint, she was fired. Officially, Valve said it was because her job was being moved back to Washington, but even after she agreed to move back, Valve apparently refused.
The lawsuit reads:
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. While defendants accommodated her at first, her direct supervisor referred to her in derogatory fashion. He referred to plaintiff as ‘it,’ which is highly offensive to a transgender person.
In its May 20 counter, Valve denied any wrongdoing and asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit, which was failed April 20.
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’s also requesting $150,000 to cover unpaid wages and penalties.
In addition, she’s seeking punitive damages at an amount to be decided by the court, and a trial by jury.