A former Walgreens worker is suing the drug store chain, alleging she was fired because she was transitioning from male to female and the company ignored her complaints of mistreatment by co-workers.
Dinker "Katrina" Passricha also alleges in her Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit filed Tuesday that she was subjected to disparaging remarks by co-workers and that nothing was done when she reported their conduct to management.
The suit's allegations include retaliation as well as harassment and discrimination due to gender and sexual identity. She seeks unspecified damages.
A Walgreens representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
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The suit says Passricha worked for seven months at a downtown Los Angeles Walgreens until her firing in December. She says she was told she was losing her job for not getting along with a store manager, who she alleges threatened her with termination less than a week before she lost her job.
"This was one last slap in the face to plaintiff," the suit states. "Defendants essentially said they are OK with managers who talk about (lewd conduct) and terrorize someone because they are different. Walgreens' behavior is utterly shameful."
According to the lawsuit, Passricha was regularly asked if she watched "she-male porn."
One supervisor asked her to explain why her breasts were so large and would ridicule her for using the women's restroom, the suit alleges. Her co-workers refused to call the plaintiff by her preferred name of "Katrina" and continued to refer to her as "Dinker," knowing it would upset her, the suit states.
Instead of taking action against her co-workers, Passricha herself was written up when she complained about her mistreatment, the suit states.
She then sought help from higher-ranking managers, but they also refused to assist her, the suit alleges.
"Defendants simply saw plaintiff as an overly sensitive 'she-male' who liked to complain," the suit states. None of Passricha's complaints were investigated and management never spoke to witnesses or met with the plaintiff.
"Instead, they allowed the harassment and discrimination to continue," according to the lawsuit.