January 12, 2015

By Marcellous L. Jones

Paris, France – The luxury American retailer SAKS FIFTH AVENUE has its feet in hot water over the firing of a Leyth O. Jamal, a transgender former employee at its Houston, Texas location. In the anti-discrimination lawsuit, Jamal claims that she was told to act like a man when on the floor at work, to use the men’s toilet and to “separate her home life from her work life”.

This comes as a bit of a surprise as the company has been known as being an advocate for the LGBT community. And the Human Right Campaign had placed Saks on its list of allies. However, since the firing of Jamal, that status has been suspended.

Deena Fidas, who is director at the HRC’s Workplace Equality Program stated in consequence,

“Saks Fifth Avenue’s arguments are hugely concerning to us. In its court filings, Saks Fifth Avenue attempts to secure a motion to dismiss Ms. Jamal’s allegations by simultaneously calling into question the validity of its own non-discrimination policy and the larger, crucial protections afforded by Title VII. The policies our CEI advances are not window dressings for any company to prop up or disregard in the face of individual allegations of misconduct. Saks Fifth Avenue is publicly undercutting the applicability of its own policies reported in the CEI and we must suspend Saks Fifth Avenue’s CEI score until further notice.”

When this goes to court, it seems very likely that justice will drop in favor of Jamal. This would be a no-brainer as the US Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder has already confirmed that transgender identification will be interpreted in the Title VII discrimination protocol from the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

For more on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and on the Title VII protections, please CLICK HERE.