Walmart has lost a discrimination case brought by a trans woman—the second such suit in the past two months.
Charlene Bost filed a discrimination claim with the EEOC, maintaining she was harassed, unfairly disciplined, and ultimately fired from her position as a cashier supervisor at a Sam's Club in North Carolina after coming out as trans. (Sam's Club is a subsidiary of Walmart)
Bost says her mistreatment at work began in 2013 when she began transitioning—she was subjected to hostility and verbal abuse, including being repeatedly misgendered and disciplined when she hadn't done anything wrong. When she got fed up and filed her discrimination claim in 2015, she was fired.
"Sam’s Club wasn’t safe for me as a transgender woman," Bost said. "No one should be treated the way I was while just trying to do my job. I care about doing good work, but my efforts were met with bias, hostility and retaliation from coworkers and supervisors who targeted me for being transgender."
"I brought this case because trans people have a right to be treated fairly," she continued. "Sam’s Club must be held accountable."
The EEOC ruled that Bost's treatment qualified as unlawful, and that her firing violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, since it's illegal to fire someone for filing an employment discrimination case.
In July, trans woman Jussica Shyne Robison charged the superstore with “harassment and intimidation” after she was verbally abused, denied promotions and company healthcare at a Sam's Club in Florida.
Less than 5% of EEOC investigations result in wins for plaintiffs, making these two victories significant for the trans community.
"Transgender women of color are routinely confronted with flagrant employment bias," said Jillian Weiss of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, which represented both women. "This determination by the EEOC puts Walmart and other employers on notice that job discrimination of this kind will not be tolerated."
"Walmart claims to understand, respect and value diversity 'while being inclusive of all people,' she added. "We call on Walmart to live up to its stated values."