NEW YORK, July 29 (Reuters) - A woman who worked as an executive housekeeper for a New York City couple is suing them for discrimination after they fired her when they discovered that she was transgender.
In the complaint filed Thursday in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, Anastasia St. Clair-Hannah, 42, claims Thompson and Caroline Dean were pleased with her performance until a background check revealed that she had undergone gender-reassignment surgery. She also accused the Deans of failing to pay overtime.
St. Clair-Hannah's attorney, David Fish, said his client has worked as an executive housekeeper and chef for a number of years and is now employed elsewhere.
An attorney for the Deans said "the allegations are completely false and without any merit."
"The family was unaware of Ms. St. Clair-Hannah's prior gender until her lawyer told them about it recently. The family is saddened that she now chose to file such a bogus lawsuit and will defend themselves vigorously and fully expect the complaint to be dismissed," said Thomas Roberts, chairman of the corporate department at Weil, Gotshal & Manges.
According to the complaint, St. Clair-Hannah interviewed with the Deans on Feb. 11, after which Caroline Dean offered her $1,000 a week for the first month and $1,200 per week plus health insurance and benefits thereafter.
Following a two-week trial period, Thompson Dean's assistant told St. Clair-Hannah that Caroline Dean was "very impressed" with her performance and that she was to start working at their Park Avenue home on March 9, the complaint said.
Some time afterward, the lawsuit said, Thompson Dean began to call St. Clair-Hannah "disgusting" or a "freak," and the couple began to prohibit her from preparing their meals. On March 12 Caroline Dean told St. Clair-Hannah that she would be terminated the next day, because a background check had revealed that she was transgender, according to the complaint.
"As a result, she and her husband were extremely uncomfortable having plaintiff anywhere near them or working for them," the lawsuit said.
The complaint alleges that Caroline Dean said that it looked bad for her husband's image and their business, and that the plaintiff needed to see a psychologist.
The case is Anastasia St. Clair-Hannah v. Thompson Dean and Caroline Dean, New York State Supreme Court, New York County, No. 652062-2011.
For St. Clair-Hannah: David Fish.
For the Deans: Thomas Roberts of Weil, Gotshal & Manges.
(Reporting by Jennifer Golson)