Transgender Woman Sues Sainsbury’s For Harassment After ‘Totally Unacceptable Behaviour’
Sainsbury’s is being sued by a transgender woman for harassment, after a store worker showed ‘totally unacceptable behaviour’.
Katie Yeomans was walking past one of the supermarket’s stores on Palmerston Road, in Southsea, Portsmouth, when she reportedly heard one of their delivery workers make a derogatory comment about her appearance.
The 68-year-old wrote to the CEO of the supermarket giant, Simon Roberts, after the July 3 incident to complain about the ‘totally unacceptable behaviour’. She is subsequently suing Sainsbury’s for £2,000.
Yeomans 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.
She has also reported the incident as a hate act, however, due to a ‘lack of evidence’, no action was taken by the Hampshire Constabulary.
The 68-year-old, who used to work in the Crown Court, claims Sainsbury’s only got in contact with her when she reported the incident to the police. They reached out to say that they would set up a meeting for her to discuss the incident with the regional manager.
However, despite calling the store about the meeting, Yeomans alleges that it never ended up taking place.
She said it would have initially been ‘nice to have an apology’ and to ‘meet with them to discuss equality and training issues’. However, due to the way Yeomans has felt treated, and the supermarket’s ‘abrupt’ response, she said ‘there was no equality’. ‘There has been no empathy which I think is quite disgusting for a national company,’ she said.
After feeling like she wasn’t listened to, Yeomans decided to sue the supermarket company and is seeking £2,000 in damages for harassment. While companies may ‘say they are for equality’, Yeomans accuses them of not being so ‘in practice’.
Yeomans clarified that she is not suing them ‘for the money’, but that it has been a final stage after she wrote to the company first and then sent another letter before she took action.
She accused Sainsbury’s of ‘not listening’ and said she doesn’t believe they ‘really care and yet when pride comes round they are wearing the flags’.
This is not the first time that Yeomans 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 organisations settled the issue with her before the cases came to court.
Yeomans stressed how 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 supermarket has since told Yeomans the worker denies the accusation, BBC News reports.
In a letter sent by Sainsbury’s to Yeomans, they stated 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.
However, Yeomans said she will still pursue legal action, having issued the supermarket with claims for damages under the Equality Act.
In a letter stating her claims, Yeomans said:
Although the incident has been denied by [Sainsbury’s], it has caused me a great deal of anxiety and sleepless nights resulting a visit to my GP and being prescribed anti depressants.
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.
A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said they are ‘committed to treating all [their] customers with respect’. The supermarket said they take ‘allegations of this nature extremely seriously’ and said that they had ‘launched an immediate investigation at the time of the alleged incident.’
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Mindline Trans+ on 0300 330 5468. The line is open 8pm–midnight Mondays and Fridays and is run by trans volunteers
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