The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had filed a suit against Bojangles on behalf of one Jonathan Wolfe claiming the restaurant has created a, “hostile work environment because of her gender identity,”.
The Bojangles restaurant in question is located in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Wolfe, who is biologically male, claims to be a transgender female.
Claims made in the suit include the Wolfe’s Unit Director who allegedly “made comments about Wolfe’s effeminate mannerisms, including Wolfe’s gait, speech, and posture.”.
The suit also claims that, “In or around October or November 2012”, Wolfe entered the store while off duty to buy food. At the time, Wolfe was dressed as a female. According to the complaint, allegedly the Unit Director told Wolfe that, “she could not be in the store while dressed as a woman and forbade Wolfe from ever entering the store again dressed as a woman.”. The Unit Director also told Wolfe they could not wear “make-up or fake fingernails” while on duty.
Wolfe also alleges that around December 2012, the Assistant manager made comments to Wolfe such as, “pray to God or go to hell,” “God made woman for man,” and “Boy, you need to pray”.
In 2013, Wolfe was promoted to cash register duties but claims the manager told them to ‘act like a man’ by changing how they walked and spoke. That same year, Wolfe showed up to work with long, braided hair and was told to change their hair or ‘be fired’. Wolfe was not, however, fired but instead transferred to a different store location.
The suit offers no corroboration of the plaintiff’s account.
Via Fay Observer:
According to the release, the comments were made by the restaurant’s manager and assistant managers. The release did not identify the managers or provide Wolfe’s age or address.
The release said derogatory comments about Wolfe continued, even after she had reported them on at least two occasions.
Wolfe was fired in retaliation shortly after making the complaints, the release said.
Lynette Barnes, a lawyer for the EEOC’s Charlotte district, declined to provide specific information about Wolfe or additional facts of her case as a matter of policy. She did say that Wolfe worked at the Bojangles in the 1900 block of Owen Drive from May 2012 to February 2013.
Brian Little, spokesman for Bojangles Inc. in Charlotte, said the fast-food chain has a policy prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex.
“In this case, Bojangles’ decision to terminate this employee’s employment was based upon misconduct including insubordination, and had nothing to do with the employee’s sex or gender identity,” Little wrote in an email.
Attempts to reach Wolfe were unsuccessful.
More at WNCN.
- Court: North Carolina Eastern
- Nature of Suit: 442(Civil Rights: Jobs)
- Judge: District Judge Terrence W. Boyle
- U.S. EEOC vs Bojangles Complaint
- Press Release