By Richard Weizel
MILFORD, Connecticut (Reuters) - A former police officer has sued Middletown, Connecticut, accusing the city of wrongfully firing her from its police force last year because she had transitioned to female from male using hormone therapy.
Middletown has denied the charge.
Francesca Quaranta filed the lawsuit late on Thursday in Hartford Superior Court, naming the city, its mayor, and senior police officials as defendants.
"Her civil rights were violated," Quaranta’s attorney, Emanuele Cicchiello, said Friday. "She was a long-term, good-standing police officer, and the second she came out regarding her gender identity, everything changed."
Cicchiello said Quaranta was harassed at work and eventually pushed out of the department.
City officials denied the allegations, saying Quaranta was fired because she refused to come to work.
"We gave her every opportunity to get back to work, and we would have dropped any disciplinary action, but she refused to come back," said Mayor Daniel Drew.
Drew said there was one instance of a police sergeant calling Quaranta a "cave-man" after her transition, and said the officer was suspended without pay for 10 days.
Quaranta worked for the Middletown Police Department for several years before announcing her transition from male to female in 2012. She was fired in June 2014 after the city determined she had failed a "fitness-for-duty" evaluation ordered after she was out of work on administrative leave for several months.
(Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Andre Grenon)