Walmart settles discrimination lawsuit with transgender employee who claims she was harassed
Walmart has settled a discrimination lawsuit filed by a transgender former employee.
Charlene Bost, sued the corporation in December, for wrongfully terminating her employment with them after she complained about workplace harassment. She was represented by civil rights organisation The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, which says they are satisfied with the outcome.
While the TLDEF was looking to secure both unspecified damages and improved training to prevent the harassment of transgender workers at all Walmart stores, details of the settlement have not been released. However, it has been revealed that the US retailer did not admit to any wrongdoing.
The case was dismissed in federal court in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Walmart spokesperson Randy Hargrove said: “While we have strong anti-discrimination policies, we are glad we could resolve this matter with Ms. Bost.”
At the time the lawsuit was filed, TLDEF stated that it is not enough for retail giants such as Walmart to merely have anti-discrimination policies in place and said they must also make sure they are enforced throughout each and every one of their branches.
In her dispute, Bost detailed how her several of her co-workers used to refer to her as “sir” or “shim” – a term that combines ‘she’ and ‘him’ – while also labelling her “that thing with an attitude.” Bost also claimed that a male superior had physically harassed her.
Bost, 46, began presenting as a woman at work back in 2008, four years after she became an employee at the Walmart-owned Sam’s Club Warehouse store in Kannapolis, North Carolina. She went on to become a member service supervisor but was fired in March 2015.
Bost added that her colleagues believed she suffered from gender dysphoria or upset caused by the sex she was assigned at birth, and that she believes that might have played a part in her dismissal.
She accused Walmart of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, colour, national origin, and religion.
TLDEF Executive director Jillian Weiss further explained: “The difficulty here is that Wal-Mart has a good policy, but when a person like Ms. Bost came forward to say she was having trouble because of the discrimination she faced, its enforcement mechanisms were insufficient.
“Corporations have to enforce compliance with anti-discrimination policies, not merely cite their existence.”
At the time, Hargrove argued that Bost’s “termination was for performance reasons.”
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