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Barreto-Neto v. Town of Hardwick Police Department



GLAD worked with a police officer in the Town of Hardwick, Vermont, in Northern Vermont who was terminated from the police department when the Town Manager learned that he is transgender.  Anthony Barreto-Neto, an experienced and skilled police officer, began working at the Hardwick Municipal Police Department in April 2002. Shortly after he began employment, town officials doing an internet search on Mr. Barreto-Neto found a website that described him as “transsexual.”  Based on the information, town officials presumed his inability to do the job.

Following the search and dissemination of the information to senior police department personnel, Barreto-Neto was subjected to a continuous pattern of harassment and inferior work conditions that became so severe he had to leave his job.  In issuing its probable cause ruling, the Attorney General credited testimony of a former police chief, Gregory Rambo, that a town official directed him to make Barreto-Neto so uncomfortable that he would leave the force.  The Town of Hardwick settled the claim.

The settlement included a monetary payment to Barreto-Neto and a requirement that the town adopt a formal policy of nondiscrimination against transgender persons and train its employees on transgender issues.  Importantly, the Attorney General’s ruling established for the first time in Vermont that transgender persons are protected under the State’s anti-discrimination laws.