Wage Watch: Transgender Army staffer wins landmark discrimination case by Claire Zillman @FortuneMagazine October 24, 2014, 5:28 PM EST E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons Report: Army discriminated against transgender employee In what’s been heralded as a landmark determination, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel on Thursday found that the Army discriminated against a transgender civilian Army employee on the basis of her gender identity. The actions at issue against Tamara Lusardi, a software specialist at the Army’s Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center in Alabama who transitioned from man to woman, were “sufficiently frequent, pervasive, and humiliating to constitute discriminatory harassment,” said the OSC, which is an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency. The case is part of a larger effort by the federal government and the OSC to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees. In June, President Obama signed an executive order banning workplace discrimination based on employees’ sexual orientation and gender identity. In September, the EEOC filed its first ever lawsuits on behalf of transgender employees under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. OSC spokesman Nick Schwellenbach told Fortune that last month the office resolved a case with the Army related to a civilian employee who claimed he was harassed and pushed out of his job because he identified as a bisexual. In the course of addressing the case, the Army changed a policy listing specific sex acts as grounds for barring someone from holding a sensitive job position. Lusardi’s case marks the first time the OSC has released its investigation of a complaint, which is called a report of prohibited personnel practice. The office made the report public to serve as an education tool for how it considers such matters, Schwellenbach says. Lusardi’s case stems back to 2007, when she told her supervisor about her intersex medical condition and her plans make a gender transition. She began that process in 2010 and received a court-decreed name change that same year. As Lusardi transitioned, her supervisors told her that she was making other employees uncomfortable by using the women’s restroom and was instructed to use a separate executive bathroom. Lusardi claimed that her supervisor typically misused her name and called her by the male pronoun in moments of anger or in the company of others. She was also told to “hold down the office chatter” about her transition. The Army, the OSC said, “made significant adverse changes in [Lusardi’s] working conditions by repeatedly singling her out, and discriminating against her on the basis of her gender identity, including her gender transition from a man to a woman.” In response to the OSC’s finding, the Army will provide training to correct and prevent future discrimination. D.C. bike share workers push for a union Citing safety concerns, workers from Washington, D.C.’s bike share program on Thursday submitted union authorization cards to the National Labor Relations Board. The 57 cards delivered to the NLRB account for 86% of Capital Bikeshare’s workforce. Now it’s up to the NLRB to certify them. If that happens, Capital Bikeshare employees will become the second bike share workforce in the country to unionize. New York City’s Citi Bike staff collected enough cards in August to hold an election, but their employer Alta Bicycle Share voluntarily recognized the union before the vote could take place. Boston’s Hubway bike share system workers are also moving to unionize. The Transportation Workers Union Local 100 has been at the center of these unionization efforts. A representative of the organization told Fortune in August that TWU considered bike share programs to have “real potential for growth.” Labor Secretary minces no words in critiquing U.S. minimum wage Secretary of Labor Tom Perez said on Thursday that when comparing the United States’ minimum wage to other countries’, there’s one obvious conclusion: “I mean, we suck,” he said. “We really do.” The U.S. federal minimum hourly rate of $7.25 ranks third-lowest among the 34 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Perez also responded to comments made earlier this week by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who said he was “tired of hearing about the minimum wage.” When it comes to understanding the livelihoods of minimum wage earners, the governor has “got his head in the sand,” Perez said.