The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund this week filed a federal lawsuit against Sam’s East, Inc. and Wal-Mart Associates, Inc. on behalf of a transgender woman alleging workplace discrimination at a Sam’s Club store in Kannapolis, North Carolina.
According to the TLDEF, Charlene Bost endured bias, retaliation and a hostile work environment in her position as a member service supervisor with Sam's Club from 2011 until she was fired in 2015.
The TLDEF said the discrimination violates Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964, the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and also the North Carolina Equal Employment Practices Act.
The complaint says that after Bost transitioned, co-workers and supervisors began discriminating against her because of her sex. She was repeatedly subjected to hostilities, including being wrongfully disciplined and repeatedly called by the wrong name and pronouns. She was called "thing" and "it" and then fired for filing complaints.
“Despite excelling at my job, Sam's Club treated me with cruelty and disrespect, simply for being a woman,” Bost 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.”
In August, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found evidence Bost was subjected to discrimination and a hostile work environment in violation of Title VII. It was the second of two EEOC decisions secured by TLDEF against Walmart in 2017.
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 and its subsidiaries that good corporate policy alone will not suffice."
Added Ames Simmons, director of transgender policy for Equality North Carolina: “Mistreating trans employees is illegal and unacceptable. Sam’s Club must be held accountable.”