Email thread: Lewis Freeman and Julienne Goins

Origin of conflict between Manager of Employee Services (West Group Eagan) and Employee

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>>> Lewis Freeman 10/06/97 10:40am >>>
Jim; Julie:

As I indicated in our previous discussion this morning, I have followed up with the appropriate person(s). Having done that and after hearing and taking into account Julie’s concerns, here’s where we are at. The issue is one of the balancing of rights, interests and concerns and respecting those rights, interest and concerns. Having gone through that process, the solution to the issue raised is for JULIE TO USE THE RESTROOM DESIGNATED IN OUR PREVIOUS DISCUSSION. While this solution may not please everyone, on balance, it recognizes and respects the rights, interests and concerns of all employees.

Lew


>>> Julienne Goins 10/06/97 11:52am >>>

Lewis,

I have had the chance to read over your note. While I vehemently oppose and disagree with the decision, as it does fail to recognise my rights as an individual, and thus, does *not* satisfy my rights, interests and concerns as an employee with Thomson, I am left with little choice in this matter but to reluctantly comply with the decision.

While I am likely not in any position to do so, at least in the best interest of the West Group, the actions delegated against me today stirred and piqued my interest in Minnesota and Federal law. I understand that I am not granted special rights for any fibre of my identity, and I would be appalled if I discovered such action otherwise. It seems, in my observation (attempting to be as objective as possible in this subjective position), that this matter has demanded a degree of special treatment towards me, not to benefit my concerns, but to limit them; either way, I have difficulty tolerating this.

That being said, I am left with limited options. If this issue cannot be resolved on a permanent level, where all parties involved can find a degree of satisfaction with compromise, I may have to resort to consulting with independent counsel specialised in civil and individual rights issues. Really, Lewis, this is the last thing I want to do, as I have a million other matters in my life to attend to. However, if a compromise cannot be made (which, by the way, I *do* offer one acceptable suggestion: there is one washroom very nearby the region I work in. There are also perhaps two dozen other washrooms throughout these buildings. I propose that I have access to the one restroom next to my cubicle, in our CDA wing of the building, next to Jim Joseph’s office. Yes, those parties who object to my use of the women’s room there may have an issue with this compromise, *but* those who object must keep in mind that their few extra metres of walking to the next washroom seems more rational than having myself walk a quarter of half a kilometre for the same, just to make a few people happy. I would be willing to accept this compromise.), I will take legal, public and media-based action. Might we try to avert this in a proactive manner?

I ask you to read this note with rationality and some degree of empathy, Lewis, and to carefully re-evaluate this matter.

Regards,

juli goins.


>>> Lewis Freeman 10/06/97 05:48pm >>>
Julie:

As I previously indicated, our decision is final. As also indicated previously, rights are not absolute. As I stated, Justice Abe Fortas is often quoted as saying that a person’s right to swing his fist ends at the tip of another person’s nose. That was Justice Fortas’ way of saying that rights are not absolute. Justice Holmes also stated that none of us has a right to yell fire in a crowded theater. That was Justice Holmes’ way of saying that rights are not absolute. In making a decision about which bathroom you are to use, we had to weigh your rights, which are not absolute, against the rights of other employees, which are not absolute either. On balance, I believe our decision best recognizes and respects the rights, interests and concerns of all concerned.

Lew


Lewis,

I did not come to Eagan to start a debate with you about the core of my identity. I’m also not here to trade opinions on out of context paraphrasings of people neither of us personally know. Instead, I came here to work on helping a departmental migration succeed, as I have done successfully for some time with Thomson and the West Group.

Evidently, this issue, which, in my observation, has been woefully blown out of proportion, is important to you and other parties concerned. And I need not tell you that it too affects me deeply. But, Lewis, I’m afraid that we are at impasse.

The decision levied upon me yesterday by you and other parties interested was in violation of my rights, my civil rights, as an individual in this country, as well as this state. It turns out, as I made some calls yesterday to people whose legal opinions I respect, that because I am recognised as female, as woman, in the eyes of the state of which I submitted my petition, the resulting decree validating my identity must be and is recognised in every state and province in North America.

What this issue basically boils down to is my civil rights have been infringed upon. Illegally. I am not one to place such severity to a claim, as I try to approach matters from a collected and reserved manner. However, your decision is very clear in its directives of restricting my freedom and rights as an individual, regardless of where I may be.

I prefer not to recount historical events or quote former Justices of the Courts. Those matters are only remotely relevant to this issue. The action levied against me is a direct act of discrimination and personal harrassment [sic]. There is no evidence in your favour which grants you a legal right to limit my rights to freedom and privacy, but you have done so, anyhow.

Please re-read the West Group Harrassment [sic] Policy; pay close attention to the first three paragraphs in part 2.0. In addition, read first paragraph of part 4.0. I intend to test the integrity of this explicitly-stated policy, if necessary, by an arbitrating or moderating party.

This issue is simple: there are a few people who have expressed discontent about where I make use of washroom facilities. These individuals have voiced their personal disapproval, which is clearly not based upon understanding, but instead of ignorance and resulting prejudice. I am confident to say that I personally do not know these people. However, their opinions must yield to the rights of the individual of whom the concerns are brought against. If an isolated number of people do not wish that I use the washroom, then their concerns are noted, but that still does not cancel my right to be in the washroom, as well. In addition, it has been made clear to me by other female employees here that they do not have issue with my use of a women’s washroom.

Think about this, Lewis: what am I to do if, during flu season, for instance, I grow extremely sick to my stomach and am not able to make it across the building and down a floor to the toilet? What am I to do if I am injured on the job, and I need to make use of the nearest sink facilities? And, what am I to do — pardon my candidness — if I have an upset stomach and need to make use of washroom facilites [sic] immediately and frequently? These things do happen, and I want to make it clear that I may not be able to make the extreme distance of a distant facility in these emergency situations.

And legally, what right do you have in denying my legal right to use a bathroom? Do you now realise how riduculous [sic] this is? What legally-protected right do you have in barring my entry? Please answer me this.

Sincerely,

juli goins.


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