Transgender library worker wins settlement over denied surgery

Dive Brief:

  • A transgender worker sued her employer and won a settlement that will pay for her gender confirmation surgery, according to
  • Rachel Dovel took the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County to court when its insurer, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, refused to cover her surgery. She went ahead and had the procedure. But the library later settled the case and will reimburse her for the procedure’s cost.
  • notes that whether the settlement included any money for Doval isn’t clear. However, the settlement mentions that the company also agreed to "listen to the recommendations of its employees about purchasing and offering LGBT-related materials and events," among other changes.

Dive Insights:

Dovel’s victory is one for transgender workers. Not every lawsuit over gender confirmation surgery might have had the same outcome, but insurers may be more watchful of healthcare coverage for transgender employees following such claims.

Employers must ensure that their policies and benefits don’t discriminate against or short-change transgender workers. Healthcare, including surgery, for transgender workers is complex and costly. Transgender patients may experience post-surgery distress that may need follow-up treatment.

An employer that wants to engage workers of all backgrounds should provide programs that support them — and wellness is a huge part of that. Generally listening to workers and ensuring a policy of inclusion are also key to retention.

Filed Under: HR Management Comp & Benefits Legal