Transgender woman sues Sam’s Club for harassment, discrimination, and wrongful firing

Transgender woman sues Sam’s Club for harassment, discrimination, and wrongful firing
Former employee and transgender woman Charlene Bost filed a lawsuit against Sam's Club for harassment and wrongful firing. (Getty Images)

A transgender woman has filed a lawsuit against Sam’s Club alleging she was harassed, discriminated against, and wrongfully fired from a store in North Carolina in 2015.

What’s the story?

The lawsuit, according to the Chicago Tribune, claims that co-workers called Charlene Bost a “faggot,” a “queen,” and “that thing with an attitude.”

The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund is representing Bost.

Bost reportedly filed multiple complaints with the company while employed there about the alleged treatment, but the lawsuit says the company treated the incidents’ as “isolated” and “relatively trivial,” BuzzFeed reported.

The former employee says she started working at the Sam’s Club store in Kannapolis in 2004 before transitioning to life as a woman.

According to the lawsuit, Bost was recognized as an “exemplary employee” and promoted during her first years at the store.

In 2008, Bost started changing her appearance at work by wearing more feminine clothes, makeup, and a more feminine hairstyle, according to BuzzFeed. That’s when the alleged harassment began.

The suit states that both co-workers and store managers participated in the behavior and one manager “openly referred to Ms. Bost as ‘it’ in talking to other Sam’s Club employees.”

Sam’s Club fired Bost on March 17, 2015, after managers allegedly sought complaints from other employees about Bost’s “supposedly ‘disrespectful’ attitude and demeanor.”

What does the EEOC say?

Bost took her case to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2014, according to the Tribune.

Earlier this year, the EEOC issued a finding that there was evidence that Bost faced a hostile work environment.

The Tribune reported that the commission recognized Bost’s right to sue Sam’s Club after failing to resolve the issue outside of court.

What did Sam’s Club say?

Sam’s Club has denied the allegations, BuzzFeed reported.

Walmart, which owns Sam’s Club, told BuzzFeed in a statement that the company “maintains a strong anti-discrimination policy” and supports “diversity and inclusion in our workforce.”

“Her termination was for performance reasons,” the statement said.

What does Bost want from the suit?

The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages and back pay, according to Arkansas Online news.

It also asks for a court order to force the wholesale retailer to train its employees to prevent future harassment of transgender workers.