Transgender woman sues employer for harassment and retaliation

Transgender people in Tennessee might relate to the workplace experiences of a Sam's Club employee suing the company for wrongful termination. Court filings for the person, who now lives as a woman, detailed her story of harassment within a hostile workplace.

She started her job in 2004, and her employer appeared to value her contributions and even granted a promotion. In 2008, however, her increasingly female appearance, which included long hair and makeup, provoked co-workers to mistreat her. According to court filings, co-workers and her direct supervisor called her "thing" or "it," and they felt free to target her with obscene jokes. Her employer was not sympathetic to her complaints.

Worsening job reviews followed, and the plaintiff described the reprimands written by her manager as fabricated. The negative evaluations eventually caused the company to end her employment. Her legal claim describes this as an act of retaliation. After informing the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of her treatment, the organization concluded that the evidence supported the accusation of a hostile work environment. Sam's Club refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing, which caused the woman to advance her claim to the courtroom. Her lawsuit is pursuing financial damages as well as a demand that the company ensure fair treatment of transgender employees.

A person experiencing discrimination or harassment on the job might benefit from consulting with an attorney familiar with workplace discrimination law. An attorney may offer assistance in documenting discrimination on the basis of age, sex, religion, race or disability. If evidence appears sufficient to take legal action, an attorney may prepare a formal complaint to the employer and potentially file a lawsuit.

Source: Courthouse News, "Transgender Woman Claims Sam's Club Discriminated Against Her," Dan McCue, Dec. 27, 2017

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