EEOC stands by Title VII and ADA in transgender case

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has determined that the Walmart subsidiary Sam's Club violated both Title VII of the Vivil Rights Act of 1964 and the American's with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) in its dealings with transgender employee Jessica Shyne Robison.

There is reasonable cause to believe [Sam’s Club] discriminated against [Jessica Robison] due to her sex (transgender status/gender identity) and retaliated against [Robinson] for engaging in protected activity, by subjecting her to harassment, adverse terms and conditions of employment, discipline, a forced demotion and hostile working environment, in violation of Title VII

Further, the letter maintains Robison was denied medical coverage because she is transgender, and that Walmart's health care policy “categorically excluded coverage of any services for ‘transgender treatment/sex therapy,’ denying [Robison] medically necessary care that would have been covered if not for her transgender status.

Early this year Walmart removed its exclusion of treatment of medical services for transgender people.

[This] means the U.S. government recognizes that transgender people are human beings entitled to civil rights, and discrimination against transgender people will not be tolerated.

This EEOC determination is an important step on the path to finding justice for Ms. Robison. The ruling sends a strong message.

No one should ever be targeted for discrimination on the basis of sex. The EEOC has put its weight behind Ms. Robison’s claims. We will continue our fight to get justice for Ms. Robison.

--Jillian Weiss, Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF)

Clearly Ms. Weiss did not mean to include the White House in that statement.

I have always worked hard during my time as a Sam’s Club employee and my dedication to the job resulted in numerous promotions. But all that changed after people found out I was transgender.

Sam’s Club ignored my my job performance and targeted me. It was wrong and the company must make amends. I am grateful to TLDEF and I look forward to moving my case forward.


Walmart maintains a strong anti-discrimination policy. We support diversity and inclusion in our workforce and do not tolerate discrimination or retaliation of any kind.

Our health benefits include coverage for the medically necessary treatment of Gender Dysphoria or Gender Identity Disorder. While we disagree with the EEOC’s findings, we have attempted to resolve this issue with Ms. Robison and remain open to further discussions.


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I have mixed feelings about invoking the Disabilities Act, but doing that may have increased the punishment?

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For your advocacy of the transgender community.

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Betty Clermont