Sommerville in 2004 and in 2011 | Photo Source
AURORA - An employee of Hobby Lobby’s Aurora, IL store is suing the company for discrimination. Meggan Sommerville, a transgender staff member, has filed complaints against the craft store chain for the right to use the women’s restroom.
The company is defending itself against the suit.
According to reports, Sommerville began working at Hobby Lobby in 1998 as a man. Eleven years later he "transitioned." Sommerville now dresses like a woman, has had his name legally changed, and carries an Illinois state identification card that identifies him as female.
In 2011 Sommerville filed two charges with the Illinois Department of Human Rights. One charge of employment discrimination, and one of public accommodation discrimination. The IDHR dismissed the case for lack of evidence.
After that, Sommerville turned to The Civil Rights Agenda to appeal the decision. Represented by Meister & Associates, the Illinois Department of Human Rights decision was overturned by the Illinois Human Rights Commission.
Sommerville claims she is forced to limits her fluids before and during work, and has to wait for her work break to walk across the parking lot to neighboring businesses in order to use the facilities. She alleges the waits have caused dehydration, which complicates a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.
The Chicago Phoenix asked Sommerville why she remains at Hobby Lobby and doesn't look for work elsewhere.
“I love my job. I’m good at what I do. I’ve built a very strong customer base,” Sommerville said. “All I want is to be treated like any other woman.”