LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Citing three years of sex gender humiliation, harassment, discrimination, intimidation, coercion and emotional distress while serving as a cosmetics department employee of the Macy’s Department store in the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, CA, Jason “Jazz” Araquel, 21, a Filipino-American, today filed a lawsuit against Macy’s Inc. in the Los Angeles Superior Court for wrongful termination and various gender-related grievances.
According to Ms. Araquel’s attorneys, Eric E. Castelblanco of the Los Angeles law firm of the Law Offices of Eric E. Castelblanco and Kelly Y. Chen of the Law Office of Kelly Y. Chen, the plaintiff is a pre-operative male-to-female transgender individual whose sexual status was known to store management at the time she was initially employed in a part-time capacity in November 2006. She subsequently became a full-time employee in March 2008 and worked there until September 1, 2009, when she was terminated.
Ms. Chen reported that the causes of action cited in the lawsuit include: Gender Identity Discrimination, Gender Identity Harassment, Failure to Prevent Discrimination and Harassment, Retaliation for Opposing Discrimination/Harassment in Violation of FEHA and Wrongful Termination in Violation of Public Policy. The lawsuit she added seeks general and punitive damages and compensation for emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of dignity, legal costs and attorney’s fees.
Prior to filing the lawsuit on April 16, Ms. Araquel filed a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (FHEA), which prohibits discrimination in employment based on the sex of the employee. Ms. Chen noted it is a violation of FEHA for an employee to be terminated based on that person’s sex, gender or gender identity.
Ms. Araquel alleges that she had repeatedly been subjected to “unfair treatment and humiliation.” This included having to work as a part-time employee for nearly a year-and-a-half during which she sought full-time work, only to witness others being continually hired from outside the store. She received full-time work only after threatening a lawsuit against Macy’s.
Other grievances Ms. Araquel alleges include: ongoing verbal abuse; being ejected from the women’s restroom; being required to do work assignments not part of her duties; being held to a stricter standard; and being subjected to constant ridicule from both management and other employees.
Castelblanco said that Ms. Araquel was ultimately terminated by Macy’s for alleged insubordination and use of foul language. Noting that he believed that the termination was actually in retaliation to her numerous complaints to management about the ongoing harassment and discrimination she experienced, he remarked:
“Given the sensitive nature and impact of the decision by any individual to change their sex – physically, psychologically and emotionally – it is abhorrent that Macy’s allowed her to be humiliated and harassed by other employees while also contributing to her pain and suffering through its ongoing unfair treatment of her and then termination.”