In August 2007, Blatt filed a complaint against Cabela’s Retail Inc.with the EEOC’s Philadelphia office. She alleged violations of state and federal laws that protect transgender employees.
She worked at Cabela’s as a seasonal stocker from September 2006 to March 2007.
Blatt alleged she was discharged after complaining about anti-LGBT workplace bias. But Cabela’s claimed she was discharged due to her conduct toward another employee.
In March, the EEOC issued a determination that Blatt probably was discriminated against by Cabela’s.
The store, located in Hamburg, specializes in outdoor sports items.
“I’m very interested in outdoor adventure sports,” Blatt told PGN. “It could have been a dream job, if management wasn’t so transphobic.”
Bruce D. Bagley, an attorney for Cabela’s, had no comment for this story.
“Please be advised that it is Cabela’s policy not to comment on open legal matters,” Bagley told PGN in an email.
The EEOC’s determination focused on Cabela’s alleged refusal to allow Blatt to use a women’s restroom. Instead, management required her to use a unisex restroom in a distant location, or the men’s room.
Blatt said the unisex restroom wasn’t maintained properly, and using the men’s room wasn’t a reasonable option.
“The unisex bathroom was an absolute disaster,” Blatt said. “It was non-hygienic and unsanitary.”
The EEOC concluded that Cabela’s probably violated the law when denying Blatt access to the women’s restroom.
“It was unlawful for [Cabela’s] to inquire into [Blatt’s] surgeries or medical procedures that she underwent or to subject her to any medical or visual examination as a pre-condition to use the women’s restroom. Requiring this type of documentation is a form of discrimination,” the EEOC stated.
Efforts to settle the case have been unsuccessful, and Blatt received a right-to-sue letter from the EEOC last month.
Her attorney, Sidney L. Gold, said he’s preparing to file suit against Cabela’s in federal court.
“We’ll do everything we can to help this young lady,” Gold told PGN. “It was horrible how Cabela’s treated a human being who was simply trying to earn a living in this country.”
Gold added: “The activity was so egregious, I can’t believe it took place in a civilized society.”
Blatt said she’s been looking for gainful employment for the past seven years.
“I have post-traumatic stress from this,” she said. “I’ve been surviving, but certainly not thriving. I’m hoping that once this matter gets resolved, the healing process can begin.”