Walmart staff accused of sneering at trans man ‘in disgust’ and refusing service

The Walmart logo is displayed outside their store near Bloomsburg.

A trans man has filed a discrimination complaint against Walmart, alleging he was denied service in store on multiple occasions.

Skyler Hyatt, 36, claimed that Walmart staff wouldn’t let him cash a money order because he hasn’t updated his ID with his new name.

During one of the incidents at a Walmart in Lawrenceville, a supervisor reportedly “made a face of disgust” and “rolled her eyes” at Hyatt, denying him service.

“What should have been a simple transaction turned into an embarrassing and painful experience,” Hyatt said in an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) statement.

“Transgender people like me exist in every corner of Illinois. Many of us depend on services from stores like Walmart to navigate life without outing ourselves at every turn.”

Hyatt filed the complaint with the Illinois Human Rights Department on 12 August.

The alleged incidents happened in October 2021, according to Hyatt’s complaint. He said that while he had corrected the gender marker on his driver’s license, he is currently unable to afford the costs associated with updating his name on the card.

According to Hyatt and his legal representative the name on his money order and ID matched. His license also features an updated and accurate photograph of him.

In his second attempt, Hyatt and his wife travelled further across Illinois to a Supercenter in Olney. This time, an employee allegedly told him the money order was “red flagged” and couldn’t be processed.

Shopping carts sit in the parking lot of a Walmart store

Shopping carts sit in the parking lot of a Walmart store. (Justin Sullivan/Getty)

Hyatt’s legal representative Michelle García said: “The name on the money order and identification aligned, and the photo on the license matched Skyler’s appearance.

“The only reason that Walmart repeatedly denied Skyler service is that he is transgender and that is a clear violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act.”

After both incidents, Hyatt opened a new bank account in Illinois. When told about Walmart declining to cash the money order, a bank employee was “puzzled” and told both Hyatt and his wife that it didn’t make sense since all the documents had matched.

“In the days after talking to the bank employee, I began to think that I needed to tell my story,” Hyatt said.

“A lot of young people – young, transgender people – will rely on a place like Walmart to process their first paycheck or a gift from a family member. I don’t want them to go through this sort of discrimination.”

This isn’t the first time the US supermarket chain has found itself in hot water with the trans community. In 2017, the company faced a lawsuit from a former employee who said she faced a barrage of hostilities, including wrongful discipline and constant misgendering.

The lawsuit also said that employees branded her a “f****t” and “treated her as a freak” while supervisors failed to appropriately intervene. Her employment was eventually terminated after she complained about the harassment, prompting her to file the lawsuit.

The plaintiff said: “Despite excelling at my job, Sam’s Club treated me with cruelty and disrespect, simply for being a woman.

“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.”

They later settled the lawsuit in 2018, with her legal representatives, the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, saying that they were satisfied with the outcome.