A transgender woman claims that she was the target of disparaging remarks before being fired from a Sam’s Club store in North Carolina. She says this occurred after she had complained repeatedly about harassment. The plaintiff, who has filed a federal lawsuit, says that she began working at the suburban Charlotte Sam’s Club in 2004 before she transitioned to being a woman. She was promoted to supervisor during this time. She says when she started wearing makeup, the harassment began.
The plaintiff claims that her direct supervisor took part in the harassment and that she was fired based on written infractions that were fabricated by an assistant manager. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission concluded that evidence existed for a hostile work environment. Sam’s Club repudiated these claims. Nevertheless, the EEOC acknowledged the plaintiff’s right to sue Sam’s Club.
The lawsuit claims that Sam’s Club created a hostile work environment and that when she complained, it retaliated by firing her. She is seeking compensatory, punitive, and exemplary damages, all of which are unspecified. She is also seeking injunctive relief and a court order directing Sam’s Club to provide employment opportunities to and favorable policies toward LGBT employees.
Workplace discrimination against a member of a protected class is prohibited under a variety of federal and state laws. People who feel that they have been unfairly treated should in most cases first follow the procedures outlined in the relevant employee manual. If this is not feasible, or if the complaints have been ignored, then an employment law attorney might be able to help.