A West Village restaurant where a woman said she was asked to leave the women’s restroom, and then the premises, because she looked too much like a man will pay her $35,000 and has agreed to change its workplace practices.
The woman, Khadijah Farmer of Hell’s Kitchen, who describes herself as “not the most feminine,” went to the restaurant, the Caliente Cab Company, with her partner, Joelle Evans, after the Gay Pride Parade on June 24 last year.
While she was in the women’s bathroom, a male bouncer burst in and told her that she had to leave. Although Ms. Farmer showed him her state nondriver photo identification card, which identified her as a woman, the bouncer insisted that she leave the bathroom, and subsequently her entire group was ejected from the restaurant.
The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund filed suit in October in State Supreme Court in Manhattan against Caliente Cab, asserting that she was the victim of gender discrimination.
While Ms. Farmer has always identified herself as a woman, the defense fund took up the case because it touched upon many issues that transgender people commonly face and could set an interesting legal precedent, representatives of the group said.
“It really straddled the line of gender expression,” said Michael D. Silverman, the executive director of the defense fund.
Caliente Cab decided to negotiate, and the settlement was signed last Friday. The restaurant will also pay the legal fund $15,000.
“The settlement was so darn good,” Mr. Silverman said. “We got everything we wanted for Khadijah, and in terms of getting good terms on the issues we were looking at, we couldn’t in good conscience litigate.”
Among the workplace practices that Caliente Cab agreed to adopt in the settlement was to add gender identity and expression to its corporate nondiscrimination policy; to adopt a gender-neutral dress code for its employees; and to amend its employee handbook to state “persons patronizing or employed at Caliente have the right to use the bathroom facilities consistent with their gender identity and expression.”
David S. Aronowitz, a lawyer for the restaurant, said in a statement: “An enlightened attitude and progressive thinking is woven into Caliente’s culture and in its efforts to promote the social welfare of all members of the community. Caliente, while disputing the portrayal of the events as reported by the plaintiff, is happy the matter is resolved amicably without engaging in protracted litigation.”