• December 3, 2015

blood-75302_1280Businesses collect plasma from donors, pay donors for their time (and not for their plasma, the businesses emphasize), and resell the plasma. Can these businesses discriminate against a person who has undergone a sex change operation and who is undergoing hormone therapy? Can they have a blanket rule rejecting these applicants from donation?

Would such a prohibition have a legitimate business purpose?

Is the answer to that question obvious to you?

Me neither.

I don’t know, for example, whether somehow hormone therapy has any implications for the quality or usefulness of a donor’s plasma. I don’t know if people who have undergone such procedures, as a group, tend to present a greater risk of blood-borne illness (like I.V. drug users and HIV).

I think the answer is no but I am hardly one to know. I do know this, however (and you do too, I bet): there is a great deal of irrational fear, hostility, and discrimination against trans-gender people in our culture at this time.

Congratulations to Plaintiff Lisa Scott and her counsel, Andrew Muller and John Klassen. They survived Defendant CSL Plasma’s motion for summary judgment today. Here, linked, is U.S. District Court Judge Joan N. Ericksen’s decision.

CSL offered abundant support for why, in its view, it is justified as a matter of safety and public health in rejecting transgender donors because, as a population, they are high risk donors. The Court expresses no view as to whether CSL’s justifications would be a legitimate business reason. For all of CSL’s asserted reasons why it can legitimately reject all transgender donors, it is not clear from this record that, as of November 17, 2008, it did reject all transgender donors or that its medical staff made a judgment call in this case to reject [Plaintiff Lisa] Scott.

In fact, Judge Ericksen concluded that there was evidence from which a jury could conclude that the rejection of Ms. Scott as a plasma donor was due to “personal animus.”

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