Transgender woman settles lawsuit against Hamilton County library over sex reassignment surgery

CINCINNATI -- A transgender woman who works for Hamilton County's library system has settled her lawsuit over sex reassignment surgery.

Rachel Dovel has received insurance coverage for her surgery, and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County will add materials on LGBT issues, according to a news release Monday.

"Through the settlement, the Library recognizes the importance of providing transgender employees with access to medically necessary transition-related care and has committed to concrete steps to ensure that it is meeting the needs of it LGBT employees and patrons," she said in the news release.

The library's board of trustees voted unanimously in June to exclude gender confirmation surgery from insurance coverage for library employees. Then Anthem, the library's health insurance provider, expanded its base plan to include coverage for sex reassignment surgery shortly after Dovel filed her lawsuit in September. The library moved up its re-enrollment date by eight months to provide coverage for sex reassignment surgery under its base plan.

"This settlement demonstrates how critical it is that we work with employers to resolve issues fairly for employees," attorney Jennifer Branch said in the news release. "We are proud of the steps the Cincinnati Public Library is taking to create a better city and a better workplace for the LGBT community.”

Dovel's lawsuit argued failing to cover medically necessary health care for a transgender employee constituted discrimination on the basis of sex under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause. Her lawsuit noted non-transgender employees received medical coverage for the same or substantially similar medical care denied to transgender employees.

She has worked for the library for more than a decade.

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