Wells Fargo and a former employee settled the worker’s lawsuit alleging she was wrongfully fired because of her decision to transition from a man to a woman.
In her Los Angeles Superior Court complaint filed last July 14, Marco “Marlo Kaitlin” Gallegos alleged discrimination, hostile work environment harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination and both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. She sought unspecified damages.
But Wells Fargo denied any wrongdoing, stressing its longstanding support for the LGBT community.
“Wells Fargo’s strong commitment and service to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community dates back over 25 years,” a statement read. “At Wells Fargo, we believe that discrimination of any kind and against any group is wrong. The claims in this case are wholly inconsistent with how Wells Fargo treats its team members.”
Despite the legal disagreement, attorneys for Gallegos and the bank have now told Judge William Fahey that the case has been resolved. No terms were divulged.
Last month, Fahey dismissed part of Gallegos’ case, finding that Gallegos had a “long-standing history of performance issues and absenteeism.”
Diana Rodriguez, Wells Fargo’s senior vice president, corporate communications, previously issued a statement about the lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, Gallegos was hired at the bank’s consumer call center in El Monte in August 2010 at a time she held herself out to the public as a male.
Gallegos began taking testosterone blocker and hormones to transition to a woman in December 2010, and began to wear women’s clothing more often, according to the complaint.
In May 2011, a boss told Gallegos her actions would cause her to go to hell because they were “unnatural” and an “affront to God,” her suit stated.
Gallegos’ suit stated that she complained to another supervisor, who responded by becoming highly critical of the plaintiff’s work.
Gallegos attempted to transfer to the part of the consumer call center that deals with Spanish-speaking consumers. When a fellow employee found out about her intentions, she asked the plaintiff, “You really think they’re going to give the position to you?” according to the lawsuit.
Gallegos was allowed to move to the new position, but her colleagues made demeaning comments about her appearance, including, “Oh, I just thought he was an ugly woman,” and nicknamed her “The Mask,” according to her court papers.
Gallegos says she complained again to a supervisor, but to no avail. She eventually changed her first name from Marco to Marlo and adopted the middle name Kaitlin.
Although she requested that her co-workers address her as Marlo, they continued to use her old name, and male colleagues made such comments as “What’s up, man?” and “How are you doing, man?,” the suit alleges.
Although she was given permission to use the women’s restroom, a female co-worker who took exception, the suit states.
Eventually overcome with emotion by her mistreatment on the job, Gallegos told a human resources representative that the “hostile work environment was too much to bear and that she often thought of committing suicide,” according to the lawsuit that was officially resolved in court May 25.
Gallegos also maintained she was excluded from mandatory job coaching sessions and from meetings between supervisors and employees.
Gallegos was fired in August 2014 after a supervisor told her he received “word from above” that Wells Fargo could not employ her any longer, according to the complaint.
—City News Service
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