A former translator for Valve Corporation is suing the game maker for more than $3 million, alleging that her supervisor at the company created a hostile work environment by referring to her as "it" following her sex reassignment surgery, according to the suit obtained by Polygon.
The employee, who is identified only by initials in the lawsuit, also says that Valve fired her after she complained to human resources about the company's practice of "utilizing people who were interested in their products to provide translation services for free."
The unnamed litigant also notes discrimination, retaliation and four other causes for her lawsuit. We've reached out to Valve for additional comment and will update this story when they respond.
The suit was filed on April 12, 2016, and Valve has denied all wrongdoing in its response.
According to the April 12 filing, the plaintiff worked at Valve's headquarters in Washington state prior to 2012. Sometime in 2012, the litigant planned to undergo gender transition and told the company she needed to move to Los Angeles, where her doctors were located and where she could recover while still working.
Valve accommodated her request, allowing her to work from home in LA to recover from the surgery, but also because of "related disabilities including depression." The company required the translator to be reclassified as an independent contractor as a condition of the move, according to the suit.
The translator continued to work at Valve until earlier this year, when she filed a complaint about unpaid translators whom she felt were being exploited and lured to work for free based on "false promises made by her supervisor," according to the suit.
Within days of filing a written complaint about the practice, the translator was fired, the lawsuit says. Valve said at the time that her job was being relocated to Washington. But when the translator offered to move, Valve declined to keep her on, according to the suit.
The translator believes she was fired because of her complaint and because her supervisor was uncomfortable with her being a transgender woman. According to the suit, he would refer to the translator as "it."
The suit is seeking $1 million for general damages, $1 million for special damages, $150,000 for unpaid wages and penalties, and $1 million for loss of earnings. The translator is also asking for punitive damages to be decided by the court.
In its written response, filed May 20, Valve denied every allegation made and asked for the complaint to be dismissed.