A transgender woman who claims that her boss at Forever 21 told her that she ‘worked harder as a man’ before firing her, filed a lawsuit against the company on Wednesday.
According to Alexia Daskalakis, 22, her boss at the global chain’s store in Brooklyn, New York, told her that she was ‘disgusting’ and said that ‘in my eyes and the company’s eyes, you’re still male’.
The woman, who started working at the store in May 2011, began her male-to-female transition in January 2014. Her lawsuit claims that when she began dressing more femininely and wearing makeup, her manager Patrick Walmsley began to bully her.
Daskalakis says that Walmsley, who fired her in January of this year, regularly called her ‘useless’ in front of other members of staff, and at one point told her that she is ‘still a man’ and so needed to ‘dress like one’.
‘[Forever 21] has discriminated against [Daskalakis] on the basis of her gender, gender expression, gender identity and/or failure to conform to gender stereotypes in violation of the [New York State Human Rights Law] by denying [her] the same terms and conditions of employment available to other employees, up to and including the termination of her employment,” states the lawsuit.
Daskalakis’ lawyer, David Gottlieb, said in a statement: ‘The transgender community faces a variety of challenges, and it is disgraceful for employers to create additional hardship by discriminating against employees, simply because of how they express and identify their gender.’
When asked to comment on Daskalakis’ claims, a manager at the Brooklyn store known as Jonathan told New York Daily News: ‘I cannot say anything about Anthony, or Alexia, or whatever’.
The case is currently ongoing.