A trans police officer in Utah is suing his former employer after alleged discrimination at work drove him to alcohol and suicidal thoughts.
Taylor Scruggs had worked for the Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake (UPD) for ten years without issue, but when he came out as trans in 2015 he started to experience problems.
In a lawsuit, Scruggs alleges that his co-workers began to make snide and hostile remarks, and that a “Men Only” sign was put on a previously unisex bathroom.
The former officer says he was also deprived of help from superiors, and was lumped with “lesser assignments and busy work”.
He was also reportedly barred from accessing transition-related care under the force’s health care policy — which permits “medically necessary hormone replacement therapy” and “medically necessary genital surgery” for cisgender people but “expressly excludes coverage of such treatments when prescribed for gender transition”.
Speaking to The Salt Lake Tribune, Scruggs said: “I felt really alone, like I wasn’t being supported. I would go home and not feel feel that same, ‘Gosh, you can’t wait to get up and do it all over again tomorrow’ feeling.”
Scruggs explained that the hostile treatment drove him to a stint in rehab in July 2018 — after which he says he was punished for “sick leave abuse” and later demoted. Two months later, he called a suicide crisis hotline fearing that he was going to kill himself, venting about work. He says he was fired as a result of the call in November 2018.
Former police officer wants his job back and trans-inclusive training.
In his lawsuit, Scruggs is seeking his job back — as well as new policies and training to accommodate its transgender employees.
He said: “If I can help somebody else go through this process and it not be so complicated for them, then that’s what I hope to accomplish.”
The department has said it disputes Scruggs’ allegations, but has declined to comment publicly while preparing its response.
If you are in the UK and are having suicidal thoughts, suffering from anxiety or depression, or just want to talk, you can contact Samaritans on 116 123 or email [email protected]. If you are in the US call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.