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Transgender legal group sues Wal-Mart for workplace discrimination

Transgender legal group sues Wal-Mart for workplace discrimination

Sam's Club, a subsidary of Wal-Mart

The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund filed a federal lawsuit against Wal-Mart for workplace discrimination.

According to the suit, Charlene Bost worked at a Sam’s Club store in Kannapolis, North Carolina. Sam’s Club is a subsidiary of Wal-Mart.

At her job as a Member Service Supervisor, she endured a hostile work environment and retaliation. Bost joined the company in 2011 and they fired her in 2015.

Following her transition, fellow employees and bosses began discriminating against Bost. Employees repeatedly called her the wrong name and used the wrong pronouns.

According to TLDEF, this treatment violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and, finally, the North Carolina Equal Employment Practices Act.

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found evidence of this discrimination in an investigation.

‘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.’

A worrying track record at Wal-Mart

The Human Rights Campaign revoked Wal-Mart’s perfect 100 score on their Corporate Equality Index earlier this year.

This is because of multiple workplace discrimination lawsuits, including Bost’s.

In August, the EEOC found another transgender employee faced discrimination at a different Sam’s Club location.

‘The EEOC put its weight behind this case and our federal lawsuit is the next step on the road to justice for Ms. Bost,’ said TLDEF Executive Director Jillian Weiss. ‘It also sends a strong message to Walmart and its subsidiaries that good corporate policy alone will not suffice. It must be backed by strong enforcement mechanisms that reach the shop floor.’

Gay Star News reached out to Wal-Mart for comment.

Update 27 December: Wal-Mart provided the following statement to GSN:

‘Walmart maintains a strong anti-discrimination policy. We support diversity and inclusion in our workforce and do not tolerate discrimination or retaliation of any kind.  We disagree with the claims raised by Ms. Bost.  Her termination was for performance reasons.  We will respond as appropriate with the Court.’