Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Around The Nation

New Mexico
Bullied Gay Teen Tweets Suicide Note Before Killing Himself
LAS LUNAS -- A 17 year old openly gay high school student who spoke out against bullying has died Tuesday after his family removed him from life support.  Carlos Vigil had posted an online suicide note Saturday that referenced being the target of bullying before committing suicide.
His distraught family told reporters Monday that their son had been suffering from the effects of bullying since elementary school and that they had transferred him from one local high school to another due to the constant strain of being targeted. 
“My son, he didn't deserve this ...” said his mother Jacqueline Vigil.“He is not here because of bullying,” Jacqueline said. “It drove him over the edge."
In his online post Saturday, Vigil wrote:
[...] "The kids in school are right, I am a loser, a freak and a fag and in no way is that acceptable for people to deal with."
Vigil's mother said that her son was bullied starting at about the age of 8 years old.
“He had this lunchbox, a smiley face lunchbox, and people thought it was the funniest lunchbox ever, and they made fun of him for it,” Jacqueline said. “They grabbed it on the school bus and just threw it on the floor and broke it. It's just little things like that.”
According to KRQE, Monday, dozens of classmates showed up at the hospital where Carlos was on life support.
“Even though now Carlos is gone, we need to focus on what he left trying to say, that bullying is a problem,” said Alyssa Cisneros, a former classmate at Valley High School. 
“Words can really hurt and I think Carlos ... He couldn't do it anymore,” said Patricia Valles said.
Federal transgender employee wins discrimination case
Mia Macy via Think Progress-Center for American Progress
Staff Reports | WASHINGTON -- A transgender federal employee won an important victory earlier this month when the U. S. Department of Justice's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled in her favor, after she claimed that she had been verbally and physically harassed at her job with a federal contractor and had been denied a position at a laboratory of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in California.
Mia Macy, a military veteran, who had been working as a detective with the Phoenix, Arizona, Police Department had applied for a position at the ATF's Walnut Creek Laboratory, a position that she claimed that a section chief there told her “was [hers], pending the outcome of [her] background check.”
Buzzfeed reported that at the time, however, Macy identified as a man, and began the background check process using that name. Her background check proceeded until late March or early April 2011, when she informed the company handling the process that she would be reporting to work as a woman. Within hours of receiving documentation of Macy’s new name on April 6, 2011, a supervisor at the ATF laboratory where Macy was expecting to work stopped a routine background investigation and canceled her hire.
When Macy filed a discrimination complaint with the ATF’s equal employment opportunity office, the office initially rejected her claim that anti-transgender discrimination was covered under Title VII. She appealed that decision, which sent the case to the EEOC, where the five commissioners ruled without dissent in April 2012 that discrimination claims based on transgender status are covered under the law’s prohibition of sex discrimination. The decision meant that a full investigation into Macy’s claims would proceed within the Justice Department.
In its decision July 8, the EEOC noted:
“The record established that the ATF intended and began taking steps to hire complainant for the position—until she disclosed that she was transitioning from a man to a woman. The ATF stopped complainant’s hiring process when it learned that complainant … would become Mia Macy. 
In light of the EEOC’s decision in this case to hold that actions based on transgender status are actions based on sex and therefore covered by Title VII, the ATF’s actions were discrimination based on sex and therefore prohibited by Title VII.”
Tico Almeida, president of the LGBT advocacy group Freedom to Work said:
“Coming just a few months after the EEOC issued its historic decision that transgender people are protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the EEOC’s reasonable cause determination in this case is, to our knowledge, the first time in history that the EEOC has investigated allegations of anti-transgender harassment and ruled for the transgender employee. This case shows that the EEOC takes very seriously its role in protecting LGBT Americans’ freedom to work."
The 51-page decision lays out specific terms for compliance:
  • First, the Justice Department says ATF within 60 days of the decision must offer Macy that job she was seeking at the Walnut Creek factory and award her back pay and benefits — with interest — for the period between April 2011 to January 2012.
  • Additionally, the EEOC ruled that the ATF is required to take corrective action to ensure future cases of potential discrimination never occur. 
  • The EEOC also awarded her compensatory damages, refunded Macy her attorney’s fees; and requires ATF to post a notice within 30 days that it is in compliance with Federal statues regarding employment laws.