May 12, 2010
Transgenders win discrimination tiff with American Eagle Outfitters, AG Andrew Cuomo forces changes
BY ERICA PEARSON
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
It just got a little easier for a transgender person to work at American Eagle Outfitters - at least on paper.
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has forced the flannel and khaki outpost to make some changes, including nixing a rule about employee "personal appearance" that banned men from wearing women's clothing and ladies from dressing as guys.
"This shows me that there's faith and hope. There might be a domino effect, that's what I'm hoping for," said Joi-elle White, 35, a transgender member of Make the Road New York.
The community group complained to Cuomo's office about what it called a pattern of discrimination against transgender job hunters. A probe confirmed the complaints, officials said.
The retailer - which employs more than 2,000 people in its 61 New York stores - signed a settlement deal promising to change its policies and employee handbook.
"To avoid further expense and the distraction of a prolonged argument, [we have] agreed to a compromise settlement in this case, with the understanding that AEO is not admitting to the findings," a company spokeswoman said.
"We wholeheartedly believe that transgender individuals should be treated equally," she added in a statement.
The chain store also has agreed to train its staff on transgender issues - like which pronouns to use when referring to workers and customers.
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