Bojangles sued over alleged harassment of transgender worker

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The EEOC has filed a lawsuit against Bojangles over a worker who was fired.

The federal agency that enforces workplace discrimination laws is going to court on behalf of a transgender employee fired from a North Carolina fast-food restaurant.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Wednesday that it's filed a lawsuit against Bojangles Restaurants Inc. The EEOC accuses the company of subjecting a transgender employee to a hostile work environment because of her gender identity. The lawsuit also alleges Bojangles fired Jonathan Wolfe in retaliation for reporting the sexual harassment.

According to the release, Wolfe "was repeatedly subjected to offensive comments about her gender identity and appearance. The belittling statements often demanded that Wolfe, who identifies and presents as a woman, engage in behavior and grooming practices that are stereotypically male, because that is the sex Wolfe was assigned at birth."

The agency says Wolfe is a transgender woman who worked at a Fayetteville Bojangles restaurants.

Bojangles spokesman Brian Little said the company has a policy prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex and all other protected characteristics.

He said Bojangles' decision to terminate Wolfe was because of misconduct including insubordination "and had nothing to do" with Wolfe's sex or gender identity.

The EEOC is seeking back pay for Wolfe, as well as compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to the Fayetteville Observer.

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