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'Very Important Precedent:' Russian Court Rules Transgender Woman Was Fired Illegally

(illustrative photo)
(illustrative photo)

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- In a decision hailed as the first of its kind in Russia, a St. Petersburg court has ruled that a printing house illegally fired a transgender woman who had worked there for years as a man.

On April 9, the Frunze District Court ordered the printing house to give Anna Grigoryeva her job back and pay her 10,000 rubles ($155) for moral damages as well as 1.8 million rubles ($27,800) in overdue wages.

Grigoryeva, who worked at the printing house for 10 years as a man, was fired in 2017 after she re-registered with the authorities as a woman.

The employer said she was dismissed because she was in a job that by law can be performed by men only.

A Russian government resolution adopted in 2000 prohibits women from working in more than 35 industries and more then 450 specific jobs deemed dangerous or "arduous."

Critics likened it to Soviet-era regulations that sought to restrict women to what the Communist Party once called their "traditional" role of bearing children for the greater good of society.

Grigoryeva's lawyer, Maksim Olenichev, told RFE/RL after the ruling that his client's victory in the case -- which took two years to complete -- set a "very important precedent."

Olenichev said that "for the first time in Russia, a transgender person has managed to defend her labor rights in court."

A lawyer with the LGBT rights group Vykhod (Coming Out), Ksenia Mikhailova, said that the list of professions off-limits to women is mainly meant by the state to preserve their ability to reproduce, but that Grigoryeva's right to work was violated.

Mikhailova also said that the court's decision will help other transgender people to gain recognition in society, defend their rights, and overcome discrimination in the workplace.

President Vladimir Putin has made reversing Russia's post-Soviet population decline a major goal.

With reporting by Current Time