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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 29, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 52
Trans woman sues Walmart for workplace discrimination
Section One
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Trans woman sues Walmart for workplace discrimination

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A former Walmart employee is suing the retail giant for discrimination and harassment she faced at work because she is Transgender.

The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF) filed the federal lawsuit on behalf of Charlene Bost on December 28. Bost was employed at a Sam's Club store in Kannapolis, North Carolina, from 2011 until she was fired in 2015. Sam's Club is a membership-only retail warehouse chain owned by a subsidiary of Walmart.

According to the lawsuit, Bost endured a shockingly hostile work environment during her time at the company. After she transitioned, Bost says, co-workers and supervisors began discriminating against her because of her sex. She was subjected to a barrage of hostilities, which included wrongful discipline and being repeatedly misgendered.

The lawsuit says Walmart employees took to 'misgendering Ms. Bost directly by addressing her as 'sir' or 'man' or by her former male name, or mocking her by calling her 'ma'am' or 'madam' in a sarcastic tone of voice, or pretending confusion by calling her both 'ma'am' and 'sir' in succession.'

She was also branded a 'faggot' by colleagues, who 'humiliate[ed] Ms. Bost by treating her as a freak,' the filing continues. On one occasion, a customer filed a complaint with Sam's Club management after hearing co-workers call Bost a 'faggot.'

Bost says her bosses failed to step in to stop the harassment even after she reported it.

'Despite excelling at my job, Sam's Club treated me with cruelty and disrespect, simply for being a woman,' she said in a statement.

'I am bringing this lawsuit because transgender people must have the same opportunities to work hard, earn a living, and contribute to our communities, free from bias. No one should ever be confronted with the prejudice I experienced on the job.'

Bost's attorneys argue that Walmart's lack of action violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the North Carolina Equal Employment Practices Act.

In August the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled that Bost was subjected to discrimination and a hostile work environment because of her sex, and determined that this violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The determination was one of two successful EEOC decisions secured by the TLDEF against Walmart this year. The EEOC decisions subsequently led the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to suspend Walmart's Corporate Equality Index (CEI) rating, despite the company's Trans-inclusive corporate policies.

'The EEOC put its weight behind this case, and our federal lawsuit is the next step on the road to justice for Ms. Bost,' TLDEF Executive Director Jillian Weiss said.

'This case makes clear that workplace discrimination against transgender individuals violates the law and will not be tolerated. It also sends a strong message to Walmart that good corporate policy alone will not suffice. It must be backed by strong enforcement mechanisms that reach the shop floor.'

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A farewell editorial
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Trump's Transgender military ban fails again in court as a California federal district judge issues a nationwide injunction
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Trans woman sues Walmart for workplace discrimination
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Roy Moore still a pathetic loser
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