Meggan Sommerville, a manager in Hobby Lobby’s Aurora, Illinois store, has filed a lawsuit against Hobby Lobby for gender identity discrimination because she claims that it will not permit her to use the women’s restroom. For years, she says that her boss has insisted that she cannot use the women’s restroom because she is a transgender woman. “Hobby Lobby’s taking the fairly absurd position that in order for Meggan to be able to use the female facilities, she has to undergo reconstructive surgery,” her attorney, Jacob Meister, explained.
Sommerville, who has worked for Hobby Lobby since 1998, transitioned from male to female in 2009 and legally changed her name the following year. For purposes of her health benefits, provided by Hobby Lobby, she is classified as female. But, when she used the women’s restroom at work, she received a written disciplinary warning. It is unclear whether Hobby Lobby’s decision not to let Sommerville use the women’s restroom stems from its owners’ decision to run their business consistent with their religious beliefs.
“I’m just looking to be treated equally with every other female in the company—not just in the store, but in the company,” Sommerville said. “If they recognize me as female for certain things, why can’t they recognize me as female for everything?”