DULUTH, MN – The Minnesota Department of Human Rights filed suit against CSL Plasma, Inc., which has a location on Superior St. in Duluth, Minn., for allegedly discriminating against a transgender woman.
The lawsuit, filed in Hennepin County, alleges the plasma collection center unlawfully denied Alice James, a transgender woman, from donating her plasma because of her gender identity, according to the Department of Human Rights.
The Department says it is being represented in the case by Attorney General Keith Ellison.
The Department goes on to say:
“In 2011, James began donating plasma at the CSL Plasma collection center in Duluth, MN. Although she is a woman, the center required her to list her assigned sex at birth-male-on the intake form. As she continued to donate plasma, James began marking female on the intake form, consistent with her gender identity. In June 2015, an employee informed James that CSL Plasma did not permit transgender persons to donate plasma and prohibited her from donating. In February 2016, James filed a charge of discrimination with the Department of Human Rights and the Department investigated the allegations. In November 2017, the Department found probable cause that CSL Plasma discriminated against James because of her gender identity. CSL Plasma refused to settle the case through the Department’s conciliation process.”
The Department says CSL Plasma denied James the right to donate in 2018 at a collection center in Minneapolis. The Department also cites under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, transgender people are protected from discrimination.
We reached out to CSL Plasma, and here’s the statement we received from their Director of Marketing and Corporate Communication:
“CSL Plasma acted lawfully and disputes the allegations by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights that it has violated the law. CSL Plasma policies have evolved since the FDA updated its guidance on donor suitability in December 2015. Since that time, CSL Plasma has put in place policies that support self-identification based on gender preference. The state has made no efforts to discuss this matter with us in advance of filing its complaint. Nonetheless, we will work with the Department to resolve this matter or, if that is not possible, will vindicate our position in court. At CSL Plasma, the safety of the donors and employees are of paramount concern and help ensure the safety of the plasma that ultimately becomes life-saving therapies for patients with rare bleeding disorders.”