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Walmart settles transgender bias suit

Walmart settles transgender bias suit

(Reuters) – Walmart Inc. on Wednesday settled a lawsuit by a transgender former employee in North Carolina who accused the retail giant of unlawfully firing her for complaining about harassment.

Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart and the plaintiff, Charlene Bost, did not disclose the terms of the settlement in a joint filing agreeing to dismiss the case in federal court in Greensboro, North Carolina. The company did not admit to wrongdoing.

Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said the company does not tolerate discrimination.

“While we have strong anti-discrimination policies, we are glad we could resolve this matter with Ms. Bost,” he said.

The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, a nonprofit that represents Ms. Bost, said she was pleased with the settlement.

Ms. Bost sued Walmart in December, claiming her coworkers at a Kannapolis, North Carolina, Sam’s Club store called her “sir,” “that thing with an attitude” and “shim,” a slur combining “she” and “him.” She also said her male boss subjected her to unwanted physical advances and referred to her as “it.”

Walmart owns Sam’s Club.

Ms. Bost started working at the store in March 2004, and began presenting as a woman at work in 2008, according to her lawsuit.

Ms. Bost said she was fired in March 2015 in retaliation for complaining to supervisors about harassment, and because they believed that she suffered from “gender dysphoria,” or distress with the sex she was assigned at birth.

She accused Walmart of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

When the lawsuit was filed, the TLDEF said that companies like Walmart should not only have strong anti-discrimination policies, but also make sure they are enforced.

The case is Bost v. Sam’s East Inc., U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina, No. 17-01148.