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Transgender laws challenged in firing case

UPI News Service, 08/19/2006 

A worker at a New York restaurant is going forward with a discrimination lawsuit, alleging he was fired because he was born a female but later became a male.

Eric Buffong, who was born Erica Buffong, said he was harassed at work and then fired after a colleague came to work brandishing a high school yearbook photo of Buffong as a woman, the New York Daily News reported.

"Prior to that I was the chef's No. 1 guy. Just because I was born a female and I chose to be a male, it's a problem now?" asked Buffong, 27.

Now, in a landmark ruling, a judge told Buffong he can go forward with his lawsuit against Tarrytown's Castle on the Hudson, which houses the five-star restaurant Equus, where Buffong worked.

New York City's human rights law does cover transgender people who identify as a different sex than the one they were born. Buffong, who changed his sex seven years ago, said he never had to explain himself because he lived as a male.

The executive chef at Equus denied discrimination in Buffong's firing.

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Copyright 2006 by United Press International


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