Trans Woman Sues Job in Bathroom Dispute
BY Advocate Contributors
May 16 2011 4:17 PM ET
An Illinois transgender woman has filed two discrimination charges against the arts and craft store where she is employed after being written up for using the ladies room.
Meggan Sommerville of Oswego, filed the complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) in April, after management at Hobby Lobby, where she has worked for a number of years, barred her from the women’s restroom.
According to her attorney, Betty Tsamis, it was while employed at the Aurora store in July of 2010 that Sommerville began transitioning from male to female and legally changed her name from Mark to Meggan. Despite being female in appearance and possessing a drivers license stating she is female, Hobby Lobby has insisted that Sommerville continue to use the men’s restroom.
According to WLSAM.com, “if forced to use the men’s restroom, Sommerville waits until there are no men using the facility,” which she says is unreasonable and causes her distress. This past February, Sommerville was written up by her manager after she couldn’t wait for the men’s room to be vacant and used the women’s.
“Transgender employees in Illinois are protected against discrimination in the terms and conditions of employment," Sommerville’s attorney said. "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.”
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