Transgender Fire Chief Sues Over Wrongful Termination

Transgender Fire Chief

Rachel Mosby sat nonchalantly in an interview before being fired explaining how well her transition had been received.

When Chief Mosby came to Byron Georgia over 13 years ago the small town located in Peach County lacked two important features, one being a fire department.

Mosbey was hired as the fire marshal dedicated in 2007 but she had bigger plans. She spent the next decade of her life building a first responders unit any town would be proud of, securing funding, procuring buildings and equipment, and of course, training firefighters.

Byron Georgia didn’t have a fire department and it also didn’t have a female fire Chief with the first name of Rachel.

That changed in 2017 when Chief Mosby came out officially as Rachel. And it appeared to be no big deal to her firefighters Mosby noted in the interview below, nothing had changed. She was still Chief as before and her crew still responded to emergencies.

Chief Rachel Mosbey is suing Bryon Georgia after being fired 18 months after transitioning.

Rachel Mosby says her firing last summer by the city of Byron not only cost her wages and retirement benefits but also tarnished her reputation, reports the AP. The lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Macon says city officials fired Mosby “based on her sex, gender identity, and notions of sex stereotyping.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has treated LGBT-based job discrimination cases as illegal sex discrimination since 2013. This could end if the U.S. Supreme Court decides firings and harassment based on a worker’s sexual orientation or gender identity don’t qualify as sex discrimination under the Civil Rights Act.

The Supreme Court heard cases on that issue Oct. 8. Its ruling is still pending.

Mosby started coming to work as a woman in January 2018, more than a year after she began a medical transition. At first, city hall colleagues and administrators were supportive, she said, but it didn’t last long.

“They didn’t want somebody like me in that position, or any position with the city,” Mosby told The Associated Press in a September interview.

After making her transition public, Mosby said, she was ordered to start wearing a uniform the first day she came to work in a skirt. Previously, Mosby often wore suits and ties. Some city officials insisted on referring to her using male pronouns, according to the lawsuit. When Mosby fired a reserve firefighter who called the chief a slur to her face, the firefighter appealed and was reinstated by the city.

In January 2018, Byron’s City Council changed its personnel policy to eliminate appeals for any department heads the city fires. Derick Hayes, Byron’s city administrator, fired her that summer.

Hayes cited three reasons for Mosby’s firing in her termination letter: that she was responsible for a backlog of business licenses awaiting approval; that she attended only five classes at a recent fire chief’s conference, wasting the city’s money; and that she failed to maintain certification as an arson investigator.

Mayor Michael Chidester said by email Tuesday that he had not seen Mosby’s lawsuit. He denied her allegations that she was fired because of her transition.

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