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Transgender Employee Sues for Wrongful Termination in California

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Los Angeles, CAA transgendered former employee of Macy's in California has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the retail giant citing harassment, discrimination and other grievances. Jason "Jazz" Araquel, 21, filed her wrongful employment termination lawsuit on April 16 in the Los Angeles Superior Court. Araquel is seeking wrongful termination damages and compensation for emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of dignity, legal costs and attorney's fees.

According to the 5/20/10 issue of Business Wire, Araquel secured a part-time job with the Macy's Department Store located in the Del Amo Fashion Center at Torrance, California, working primarily in the cosmetics department. Initially hired as a part-time employee in November, 2006 Araquel sought a full-time position and made her wishes known to Macy's management.

She was eventually given a full-time position with the facility 16 months later, in March 2008. However, the lawsuit notes that during the 16 months Araquel campaigned for a full-time job, Macy's continued to hire full-time personnel from outside the store. The Business Wire states that Araquel finally secured a full-time position only after threatening legal action.

The pre-operative transgender male to female cites other grievances in her lawsuit, including "unfair treatment and humiliation." Araquel alleges ongoing verbal abuse, ejection from the women's restroom, a requirement to do work assignments not part of her duties, being held to a stricter standard and being subjected to constant ridicule from both management and other employees.

Araquel, a Filipino-American, was terminated in September of last year for alleged insubordination and use of foul language. However, her attorney stated that in his view the termination was actually in retaliation to her numerous complaints to management about ongoing harassment and discrimination.

The lawsuit notes that Araquel's gender status was known to Macy's at the time of her employment, in 2006.

Araquel filed a complaint with the California Department of Fair Unemployment and Housing (FEHA) prior to filing the lawsuit. Her wrongful termination attorneys note that it is a violation of FEHA for an employee to be terminated based on that individual's sex, gender or gender identity.

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