San Diego Civil Rights Attorney and Homeless Advocate Ann Menasche Sues Disability Rights California for Wrongful Termination – Defend Feminists!

On January 26, 2023, Ann Menasche filed suit in San Diego Superior Court against her former employer, Disability Rights California (DRC), the largest legal non-profit in the state, asserting claims of sex and sexual orientation discrimination, harassment, and retaliation related to her termination after almost twenty years of employment.

Ms. Menasche is a lesbian who was a leader in the local marriage equality movement a decade ago. She is a feminist with deep roots in the abortion rights struggle both pre- and post-Roe vs. Wade. She has been at the center of peace and justice activism in San Diego for decades. She is a long-time champion of the rights of all disenfranchised people. The Complaint alleges that her termination came without warning despite Ms. Menasche’s strong work record advocating for her clients with disabilities, her groundbreaking homeless advocacy, and her supervisors giving her high marks in cultural competence.

Ms. Menasche responded on the list, thanking DRC for coming up with a statement in defense of Roe and proclaimed that “Access to safe legal abortion is a life and death necessity for women as a biological sex across the board…” Though her language did not criticize transgender individuals in any way, she was quickly attacked as an “anti-trans hate monger” and she was labelled a “TERF 1 ” – a misogynistic and anti-lesbian slur. Ms. Menasche clarified that she was talking about sex, not gender, and requested that the email discussion on the list be ended.

Ms. Menasche complained to DRC that she was being targeted for harassment because of her sex and sexual orientation. She wrote in part, “If sex is no longer recognized as a protected class, or to be deemed to have no existence, not only are half the human race born female unable to name or fight sex discrimination but lesbian and gay rights or the rights of same sex attracted people are made invisible or effectively eliminated as well and redefined as transphobic bigotry…”

Two days later she was fired. The only reason given was “ongoing performance issues.”

Andrew Hillier, of Hillier DiGiacco LLP, representing Ms. Menasche, declared: “Sex and sexual orientation remain protected characteristics under California law. No company has the right to adopt policies or procedures that ignore and violate that reality. The law protects Ms. Menasche—and every other individual in this state—from such discrimination.”

Menasche Sues Disability Rights California for Wrongful Termination – Defend Feminists!

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