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Illinois trans woman sues employer over toilet ban

Jessica Geen May 17, 2011
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A trans woman from the US state of Illinois is suing her employers for barring her from using the women’s toilet.

Meggan Sommerville, of Oswego, has filed two charges of discrimination with the Illinois Department of Human Rights.

She worked for crafts store Hobby Lobby for a “number of years” while living as a man, her lawyer says.

She began transitioning last summer and has changed her name and has a driving licence which states she is female.

However, she claims the store continued to ban her from using the women’s toilet. Instead, she says, she was told she must use the men’s facility.

According to WLS 890AM, Ms Sommerville would wait until the men’s bathroom was vacant in order to use it but on one occasion could not wait and had to use the women’s facility.

When her superiors discovered, she was “written up”, or disciplined.

Her lawyer Betty Tsamis said: “Transgender employees in Illinois are protected against discrimination in the terms and conditions of employment.

“We believe having access to an appropriate restroom facility is a term and condition of employment. Denying someone such access because of their gender identity violates the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA). Since the restrooms are available to the general public, we believe Hobby Lobby’s actions violate the public accommodations protections of the IHRA.”

In a statement, Ms Sommerville said: “It’s hard enough being a trans person. I just want my employer to treat me fairly and lawfully.”

Hobby Lobby has not responded to requests for comment.

More: Americas, human rights, Illinois, public bathrooms, toilets, Trans, trans woman, Transgender

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