Samantha Azzarano began working for Walmart in 2012, and began changing her gender identity in 2013, according to a post on phillymag.com. That same year, she began having "hostile interactions" with a new manager, Sheena Wyckoff.
The suit alleges that Wyckoff began writing up disciplinary referrals against Azzarano and directing "an inordinate amount of criticism" toward her, while non-transgendered employees did not receive similar treatment. Wyckoff fired Azzarano in June of 2014. Although Deptford hosts two Walmart locations, reports did not specify which one employed Wyckoff and Azzarano.
Neither attorney Kevin M. Costello nor Walmart had returned a request for comment from NJ Advance Media by the end of the business day Monday.
Costello, however, told the political blog ThinkProgress that Wyckoff repeatedly called Azzarano by her birth name, Robert, and used phrases like "he/she" and "f---ing tranny" to describe her.
"If we were at all uncertain about some of Ms. Wyckoff's very obvious discriminatory remarks before that...this kind of put the nail in the coffin," Costello told ThinkProgress. "The word 'tranny' is not a word that acceptable to use to describe a trans person. It's as unacceptable as a racial epithet to describe a black person."
Azzarano is seeking reinstatement at her old job, plus backpay.