A transgender woman was left ‘angry and humiliated’ after a Sainsbury’s store worker allegedly pointed at her and said ‘look at the state of that’.
Katie Yeomans is suing the supermarket giant for £2,000 after hearing the remark made to a delivery driver as she walked her dog past a shop in Portsmouth.
The 68-year-old said she wrote to the CEO Simon Roberts about the ‘totally unacceptable’ behaviour, but did not receive a constructive response.
She said: ‘There was a delivery taking place and the store worker shouted to the delivery driver and said “Oi, look at the state of that,” whilst pointing at me.
‘The incident made me feel very angry and humiliated, and even worse was the response that I had from Sainsbury’s which contained no empathy and basically a complete denial that the incident took place.’
Ms Yeomans also reported the comment as a hate incident, but no action was taken by Hampshire Constabulary due to a ‘lack of evidence’.
The former Crown Court worker claims it was only when she reported the incident to police that someone from Sainsbury’s got in touch with her saying they would set up a meeting with a regional manager so she could discuss the incident with them.
She claims that she called the store about the meeting but it never took place.
Miss Yeomans, who started her transition in 2014, said: ‘Initially it would have been nice to have an apology and meet with them to discuss equality and training issues.
‘But the way I’ve been treated, their response was very abrupt and there was no equality.
‘There has been no empathy which I think is quite disgusting for a national company.’
Miss Yeomans said she decided to sue the store because she felt it was not listening to her complaints.
She is seeking £2,000 in damages for harassment as she believes companies ‘say they are for equality, but are not in practice’.
She said: ‘I am not suing them for the money. It it the final stage – I wrote to them initially then I sent a letter before action.
‘They are not listening – they do not really care and yet when pride comes round they are wearing the flags.
‘It’s a matter of principle.’
Miss Yeomans says she’s experienced six similar incidents over the past four years and on each occasion threatened legal action with the organisations settling with her before any cases came to court.
She added: ‘I’ve been in this situation many times before with other companies unfortunately, and I find companies say they’re for equality, but they’re not in practice.
‘Companies have a legal obligation to train their staff to deal with members of the LGBT community and other members of the community, and they’re just not doing it.’
In a letter outlining her claim, Miss Yeomans said she had suffered sleepless nights and anxiety as a result of the incident outside the Sainsbury’s Local store in the Southsea area of Portsmouth.
It said: ‘Although the incident has been denied by [Sainsbury’s], it has caused me a great deal of anxiety and sleepless nights resulting a visit to my GP and being prescribed anti depressants.
‘This is not the first time I have suffered discrimination or harassment and I am not prepared to tolerate being treated differently because of my Gender.’
When asked about the case, a Sainsbury’s spokesperson today said: ‘We are committed to treating all our customers with respect.
‘We take allegations of this nature extremely seriously and launched an immediate investigation at the time of the alleged incident.’
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