Wal-Mart Stores Inc settled a lawsuit on Wednesday by a transgender former employee in North Carolina who accused the retail giant of unlawfully firing her for complaining about harassment.
Wal-Mart did not disclose the terms of the settlement in a joint filing agreeing to dismiss the case in federal court in Greensboro, North Carolina. The company did not admit to wrongdoing.
Wal-Mart spokesman Randy Hargrove said the company does not tolerate discrimination.
The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, a nonprofit that represents the former employee, said they sued Wal-Mart in December, after the employee’s coworkers at a Kannapolis, North Carolina, Sam’s Club store called her “sir,” “that thing with an attitude” and “shim,” a slur combining “she” and “him.” The former employee also said her male boss subjected her to unwanted physical advances and referred to her as “it.”
Wal-Mart owns Sam’s Club.
The former worker started at the store in March 2004, and began presenting as a woman at work in 2008, according to her lawsuit.
She said she was fired in March 2015 in retaliation for complaining to supervisors about harassment, and because they believed that she suffered from “gender dysphoria,” or distress with the sex she was assigned at birth.
She accused Wal-Mart of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
When the lawsuit was filed, the TLDEF said that companies like Wal-Mart should not only have strong anti-discrimination policies, but also make sure they are enforced.
Transgender is used to describe a person whose gender identity or gender expression is not what society typically associated with the sex that was assigned to them at birth. While this specific case takes place in North Carolina, our Florida Discrimination Attorneys at Whittel & Melton would like to address how this pertains to Florida where employment is generally at will. Regardless of that fact, wrongful termination based on transgender discrimination is unlawful and may form the basis of a lawsuit. Our Discrimination Lawyers may be able to assist employees who have received a wrongful termination.
Florida is an “at will” state, which means that an employer may terminate an employee for no reason or any reason, even if the reason seems unfair to the employee. However, when someone is fired based on an employee’s membership in a particular class of people protected under anti-discrimination laws, the termination is then considered a wrongful termination, which means the employee may sue to recover damages related to the termination.