Late last week, an Illinois appellate court affirmed that Hobby Lobby violated Illinois’s Human Rights Act by banning a trans employee from using the women’s restroom. In a resounding victory for trans employees, the appellate panel held that the Illinois Human Rights Commission correctly found that Hobby Lobby discriminated against the employee because of her gender identity.
Meggan Sommerville, who has worked at Hobby Lobby for 23 years, first filed complaints with the Human Rights Commission in 2013. She informed Hobby Lobby of her medical and legal transition in July 2010; the company changed her administrative information, but did not let her use the women’s bathroom.
On appeal, Hobby Lobby had argued that it had limited bathroom access based on sex, not gender identity, and that Sommerville was of the male sex. The court wrote, “There is simply no basis in the [Human Rights Act] for treating the ‘status’ of being male or female as eternally fixed.”
Although this case marked an issue of first impression in Illinois, California has some of the strongest protections for transgender employees in the nation. Teukolsky Law has successfully handled several matters for transgender clients. If you believe you have been discriminated against based on your gender identity or expression, contact Teukolsky Law today for a free consultation.
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Lauren Teukolsky is the founder and owner of Teukolsky Law, A Professional Corporation.