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Transgender Woman Says Employer Forced Her to Use Men's Bathroom

By Soyoung Kwak in News on May 15, 2011 7:00PM

Photo by cseeman
A transgender woman named Meggan Summerville (born Mark Summerville) from the Chicago suburbs filed two discrimination charges against the state of Illinois, saying that her employer prohibited her from using the women's restroom, even though she is entitled to using those facilities.

Summerville, who was employed at Hobby Lobby, asserts that because her employer has barred her from using the proper facilities, she has had to work her way around the inconvenience and that not being able to freely access the women's restroom has caused her serious and unnecessary stress:

On February 23 this year, Sommerville couldn't wait for the men's room to be vacant and used the women's restroom, the charge stated. She was written up by her manager for using the women's room. Sommerville has subsequently modified her workplace intake of fluids to minimize being forced to use the men's restroom and she waits for her lunch break to walk to a nearby business to use its women's restroom, a release from her lawyer said.

Summerville's attorney, Betty Tsamis, sums up the unfairness of the part of the employer by stating that transgender employees are protected against discrimination in the workplace, and that Hobby Lobby's practices violate employee rights. Summerville's case is currently still under review with the Illinois Department of Human Resources.