For first time ever, Russian court sides with trans woman who sued employer for labor discrimination
For the first time ever in Russia, a court has acknowledged workplace discrimination against a transgender woman. On April 9, a judge in St. Petersburg ruled that a printing press violated Anastasia Vasilyeva’s civil rights when it fired her after she re-registered her identification documents as a woman. The employer cited a federal provision that makes it illegal for women to hold certain jobs, including printing press work. According to the LGBTQ-rights group “Vykhod” (Exit), Vasilyeva has been reinstated at her job and awarded 10,000 rubles ($155) for emotional distress and 1.85 million rubles ($28,500) for lost income.
“Two years of litigation has led to the obvious conclusion that no one should lose their job because they changed their gender on their identification documents. And now this company will answer in rubles for its discriminatory behavior,” Vasilyeva’s attorney, Maxim Olenichev, told reporters after the verdict was announced, calling it unprecedented in Russia. Olenichev argued in court that Russia’s professional restrictions on women shouldn’t apply to Vasilyeva because Russia’s Supreme Court has ruled that the limitations are based on maternity welfare.
Vasilyeva had worked at the company for more than a decade, but her employers fired her in 2017, when she registered her state identity paperwork as a woman.
A federal provision introduced in 2000 makes it illegal for women to hold 456 different jobs in Russia on the grounds that the occupations are simply too strenuous, dangerous, or harmful.