In the UK, a transgender woman is suing Sainsbury’s for £2,000 ($2,700) after claiming a store worker pointed at her and made a derogatory comment.
Katie Yeomans, 68, from Portsmouth, Hampshire, said she was left “angry and humiliated” after hearing the remark made to a delivery driver as she walked her dog past one of the supermarket giant’s stores in Portsmouth.
Katie has accused the store worker of having “shouted to the delivery driver and said, “Oi, look at the state of that”, whilst pointing” at her.
Katie said she “knew” the “derogatory comment” was made about her and reported the “hate incident” to police but due to a “lack of evidence”, no further action was taken by Hampshire Constabulary.
Hampshire Police confirmed it had received a report about the incident, which it said happened on July 3.
“An investigation into the incident was launched and officers followed a number of lines of inquiry in order to establish the circumstances,” a spokesman from Hampshire police said. “We have spoken to those involved and words of advice have been provided.”
After contacting the police, Katie then wrote a letter about the “totally unacceptable behavior” of the worker to Simon Roberts, the chief executive of Sainsbury’s.
Katie said the response to her first letter of complaint contained nothing constructive. She is now taking the shop to court for £2,000 ($2,700) in damages for harassment as she believes companies “say they are for equality but are not in practice”.
The former Crown Court worker claims it was only when she reported the incident to police that someone from Sainsbury’s got in touch with her saying they would set up a meeting with a regional manager so she could discuss the incident with them.
She claims that she called the store about the meeting, but it never took place.
“Initially it would have been nice to have an apology and meet with them to discuss equality and training issues,” Katie, who started her transition in 2014, said.
“But the way I’ve been treated, their response was very abrupt and there was no equality,” she added. “There has been no empathy which I think is quite disgusting for a national company.”
Katie filed a county court claim against Sainsbury’s over the July incident and seeking £2,000 ($2,700) as she remains determined to challenge discrimination and harassment under the Equality Act.
She said that it was a shame as she is generally well supported by the people of the South sea.
“I’m very well known within the community, and the majority of people are really nice and I go about my business without this kind of hassle,” Katie said.
This is not the first time that Katie has faced such incidents; she has been subject to six other similar occurrences, over just the last four years.
She threatened legal action on every occasion, however, the organizations settled the issue with her before the cases came to court.
“Companies have a legal obligation to train their staff to deal with members of the LGBT community and other members of the community, and they’re just not doing it,” The transgender woman said.
In a letter sent by Sainsbury’s to Yeomans, they said that the CCTV footage outside of the store on July 3, did “not indicate either party behaving as alleged”. They concluded that they would not be paying her any compensation due to a lack of evidence.
A Sainsbury’s statement said an immediate investigation had been launched at the time.
“We are committed to treating all our customers with respect,” the statement reads. “We take allegations of this nature extremely seriously.”
According to the statement, Sainsbury had “launched an immediate investigation at the time of the alleged incident.”
In a letter summarizing her claim, Katie said she had suffered sleepless nights and anxiety as a result of the incident.
“Although the incident has been denied by (Sainsbury’s), it has caused me a great deal of anxiety and sleepless nights resulting in a visit to my GP and being prescribed anti-depressants,” Katie’s letter reads. “This is not the first time I have suffered discrimination or harassment and I am not prepared to tolerate being treated differently because of my gender.”