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Transgender woman files discrimination suit against Texas store

A workplace is no place for discrimination. As an employee, you have the right to feel comfortable and protected at work. In a recent case, the ongoing plight of transgender individuals has come to light again.

It's well noted that transgender people are protected from workplace discrimination, just like any other person. Despite this, recent news shows that the company Saks Fifth Avenue does not consider transgender employees to be protected by Title VII. The company allegedly wants a federal case dismissed.

The federal case claims that a former employee of the company from Texas was harassed for being a transgender woman. She, a 23-year-old sales associate, was fired from a Houston store after working for the store for nearly a year. She was fired after she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC later found that the woman had been intimidated and harassed due to her gender, because she wouldn't conform to male stereotypes in the workplace.

Her harassment wasn't always things like taunting or sexual harassment; the store's management required her to use the men's restroom and told her not to come to work dressed as a woman. Coworkers allegedly asked if she was a prostitute and wouldn't call her by female pronouns.

She was threatened with being beat up, as well, according to her lawsuit. The 23-year-old complained, and then in July 2012, she was fired for having an "inappropriate" conversation at work with a coworker. She was never told what that conversation was.

Because of how this situation has played out, she is now seeking several kinds of repercussions against the company. The lawsuit seeks compensation for discrimination, wrongful termination, a hostile work environment and retaliation.

Source: New York Daily News, "Saks Fifth Avenue does not consider transgender employees protected by Title VII: lawsuit" Nicole Hensley, Jan. 14, 2015

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