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Trans woman suing Barnes and Noble for discrimination

Naith Payton May 11, 2015
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Victoria Ramirez is suing Barnes and Noble for discrimination and unfair dismissal after she told them she would be transitioning.

Ms Ramirez says she was subjected to harassment and offensive comments from her manager, at the store in Orange County, California, who told her to remove her nail polish, jewelllery and make-up as it was a “family store” and she should “think of the children”.

She says she was forced to hide her gender identity at work, being banned from wearing women’s clothes, or female pronouns, using the correct toilet, or discussing her transition with co-workers. This seriously impacted her mental health, and when she told her managers she could no longer hide her transition, she was fired.

She said: “I loved my job at Barnes & Noble. I put myself through college working there.

“I thought this company shared my values of hard work, integrity, and respect for all people.

“But when I came out as transgender, they didn’t live up to those values – instead they responded by mocking me and forcing me to hide who I really am.

“After giving six years of my life to Barnes & Noble, I was devastated when I was fired simply for being myself. I lost my livelihood, my financial stability, and my confidence.”

Kris Hayashi of the Transgender Law Center said: “It’s unacceptable for any employee to go through what Victoria  experienced at Barnes & Noble, and it’s particularly disturbing given the public image the company has cultivated around its support for LGBT people.

“Unfortunately, this case illustrates the fact that discrimination against transgender employees is still all too common, leading to sky-high rates of unemployment and poverty in our community.”

Barnes and Noble have responded to the lawsuit by pointing out their history of LGBT inclusion. In a statement they said: “It is important to point out that Barnes & Noble has a history of supporting and employing transgender individuals.

“When an employee informs us that he or she will be transitioning, we work directly with the employee to provide the support they need to feel comfortable in the work place.  We also work with the other employees and managers in our stores to ensure they are educated about the transition process and what to expect.”

 

Employment non-discrimination laws have recently been updated to include trans people. 

Related topics: barnes and noble, Employment, job, Transgender, transgender law center, US

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