Federal Lawsuit Alleging Anti-Transgender Employment Discrimination Filed Against Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club

By Shane Stahl • December 27, 2017 • 4:23 pm

A federal lawsuit has been filed against Sam’s East, Inc. and Wal-Mart Associates, Inc. by the Transgender Legal and Defense Fund (TLDEF) on behalf of a North Carolinian transgender woman who faced workplace discrimination at a Sam’s Club in Kannapolis, North Carolina. TLDEF alleges that the companies violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on sex.

Read the complaint here.

TLDEF Lawsuit

The plaintiff, Charlene Bost experienced a hostile work environment, bias, and retaliation as a Member Services Supervisor from 2011 to 2015. After her transition, Bost claims co-workers and supervisors began discriminating against her because of her sex, intentionally misgendering her and wrongly disciplining her.

Bost said today:

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

In August the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found evidence that Ms. Bost was subject to discrimination based on sex, and determined that there was a clear Title VII violation.

“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.

The case is the latest in a long line of lawsuits that ask courts to recognize that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects LGBTQ workers from discrimination. In recent years, legal consensus has grown, with judges, courts, and federal agencies increasingly coming to the conclusion that federal law prohibits discrimination against LGBTQ people. Legal advocates, including our partners at TLDEF, are aiming toward a clear goal – that the U.S. Supreme Court find that “sex discrimination” encompasses discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The case has been filed as Charlene Bost v. Sam’s East, Inc. and Wal-Mart Associates, Inc. in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. To track other pending litigation, click here to view our litigation tracker.


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