Fired Cross-dresser Giving Up on Lawsuit
[NEW ORLEANS, LA] - A trucker fired by a grocery store chain because he sometimes dressed as a woman off duty has decided to drop his lawsuit against the company.
A federal judge had ruled against trucker Peter Oiler last September and refused to reconsider the case in November.
"Litigation is a long drawn out process. He just decided it was time to bring it to an end," Oiler's lawyer, Ronald Wilson, said Thursday.
Oiler was not available for comment. He did not immediately return a telephone call Thursday. He was fired in January 2000 after working for Winn-Dixie for 20 years, the last 16 as a truck driver in Harahan.
In his lawsuit, he had sought unspecified damages for lost wages and emotional distress. He has been married for more than 20 years.
In September, U.S. District Judge Lance Africk ruled that Winn-Dixie Louisiana Inc. had a legal right to fire Oiler after he told a supervisor he went out one to three times a month as "Donna," dressed in wig, makeup, breast pads, and women's clothes, Africk said.
Court documents indicated Oiler told a supervisor about his crossdressing during a meeting to squelch a rumor that he was a homosexual. Oiler is not gay, but is "transgender," the lawsuit stated.
Africk ruled that Oiler is not protected by the federal law against sex discrimination.
Congress has refused 31 times to amend the law to ban discrimination because of gender or sexual identity, and it is not the federal court's job to dictate policy, Africk ruled.
Oiler allowed the time to file an appeal to expire. Still at issue in the case is how much Oiler is required to pay to Winn Dixie to cover the company's expenses in the case. A Feb. 5 hearing date has been set on the issue.