Walmart illegally discriminated against transgender employee
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has found that Walmart unlawfully discriminated against a transgender employee.
Jessica Shyne Robison, a longtime employee of Walmart subsidiary Sam’s Club in Florida, says she was “subjected to harassment and intimidation” by a supervisor in 2014 after she began her gender transition.
After filing a complaint, Ms Robison was disciplined and demoted.
Ms Robinson brought action under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlaws discrimination based on sex – and won her case today.
The US government commission ruled that there is “reasonable cause to believe” that Sam’s Club discriminated against her in violation of civil rights laws.
The Commission stated that “there is reasonable cause to believe that [Sam’s Club] discriminated against [Ms. Robison] due to her transgender status/gender identity and retaliated against [her]”.
The Commission also ruled that Walmart’s health care policy, excluding coverage of medically necessary transgender health care, violated the law.
The EEOC added: “The Commission found that the Walmart healthcare plan had “categorically excluded coverage of any services for ‘transgender treatment/sex therapy’, denying [her] medically necessary care that would have been covered if not for transgender status. As such, [Walmart]’s policy discriminated based on sex as well as against transgender individuals as a class, in violation of Title VII.”
Walmart says it has since “removed the categorical exclusion for services related to ‘trangende treatment /sex therapy’,” as of the start of this year.
A Walmart spokesperson said: “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.
“Our health benefits include coverage for the medically necessary treatment of Gender Dysphoria or Gender Identity Disorder. While we disagree with the EEOC’s findings, we have attempted to resolve this issue with Ms. Robison and remain open to further discussions.”
The case as brought by Ms Robison and the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund.
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