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Posted: Wednesday, June 11th, 2014 11:35 AM HST

EEOC: State violated rights of transgender woman

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) A federal agency has concluded that the Hawaii Department of Public Safety violated the civil rights of a transgender woman employee.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says 50-year-old office assistant Kelli Keawe for nine years was improperly denied access to women's restrooms in the building where she worked.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports Keawe was ordered to use a single, unmarked restroom.

The EEOC issued a letter May 16 regarding her assignment to a "gender-neutral" restroom based on her sex.

Keawe is still on the job. She says she and the department are trying to reach a formal agreement.

The commission could sue on Keawe's behalf if a resolution isn't reached.

Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Toni Schwartz says she can't comment on the pending legal matter.

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