A lawsuit was filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2008 against the Dudley Perkins Company, the oldest Harley Davidson motorcycle dealership on behalf of a former transgender employee. Bowen Dean is a self described “butch dyke” who worked as an entry level lot technician at the family owned business.
Dean accused her former employers of gender discrimination claiming that the shop refused to allow her to work as a mechanic despite her training which was overlooked and less qualified men were hired for the position. After dean filed a complaint with the EEOC in February of 2006, her employment was terminated two months later. At that time the EEOC filed a lawsuit for sex discrimination and retaliation.
The recent settlement includes a revision of the equal employment policy for the company, revision of the complaint procedure and sex discrimination training for employees each year, as well as posting a notice of the terms of the agreement and reporting hiring decisions to the EEOC for the next 2 years.
Bowen Dean is also to be awarded $55,000 which she said she would like to use to help train other gender nonconformists how to be mechanics, and hopefully fulfill her dream of being a Harley Davidson mechanic. Bowen declined to discuss her current employment status in Hawaii where she moved after being fired from the shop.
Gender discrimination victims are protected under the law and employees are entitled to a harassment and discrimination free workplace no matter what type of work they do.