Transgender employee suing Boeing for harassment, unsafe work environment

Mar 4, 2024, 5:00 AM | Updated: 6:34 am

Image: The Boeing Company headquarters...

The Boeing Company headquarters (Photo: Win McNamee, Getty Images)

(Photo: Win McNamee, Getty Images)

Originally published 7 a.m. March 1

A transgender employee is suing Boeing, claiming the company not only did nothing to prevent harassment after her transition, but even retaliated against her by eliminating her job.

She alleged Boeing managers and staff created a hostile work environment, which is a violation of the Washington Law Against Discrimination. Before her transition, Rachel Rasmussen worked at Boeing for 20 years with zero issues as a crane mechanic at the Everett factory.

More from Boeing: Boeing sued for negligence over 2022 murder of employee

“There would be body checks in the hallway. People wouldn’t work with me. I would get threatening glares,” she told KIRO 7. “Comments like, ‘why don’t you grow thicker skin.'”

The harassment started in 2011, less than a year after she made the decision.

Rasmussen’s coworkers and a manager “placed a target on her back” by regularly outing her as transgender to new employees, vandalizing her property and shouldering her into hallways, according to the lawsuit obtained by KIRO 7. She also was allegedly a victim of homophobic jokes and slurs.

Sexual assault incident at Boeing

The worst of the abuse happened when she was allegedly sexually assaulted by a male coworker with a broomstick, according to the lawsuit.

“I again used an internal reporting system to question was this done correctly?” Rasmussen told KIRO 7. “So I used the Speak Up portal and they said there was no issue with that person sexually assaulting me and keeping their job. I have had more medical care for a cut finger than I did for that sexual assault.”

According to Rasmussen, the employee who committed the alleged crime was given training and a day off before he was allowed to return to work.

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Additionally, a coworker tried to support her by putting a trans rights sticker on her locker, only to make that employee a target of harassment as well. The lawsuit claimed other employees bashed in that employee’s locker and put broomsticks in front of the locker door, according to KIRO 7.

Rasmussen is seeking compensation for lost wages and harm done. Boeing said it would not comment on the allegations or the suit.

Contributing: Bridget Chavez, KIRO 7

Frank Sumrall is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here and you can email him here.

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Transgender employee suing Boeing for harassment, unsafe work environment