Mark Iandolo Jul. 7, 2016, 9:12pm

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (Legal Newsline) – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit against Bojangles Restaurants Inc. for allegations of subjecting a transgender employee to a hostile work environment because of her gender identity.

Jonathan Wolfe, a transgender woman who worked at a Bojangles restaurant in Fayetteville, North Carolina, was purportedly subjected to offensive comments about her appearance and gender identity. Wolfe identifies and presents as a woman. EEOC charges that she was often demanded to dress and act appropriate to the gender assigned to her at birth. The company allegedly fired Wolfe after she complained about the discrimination.

Alleged conduct of this nature violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, specifically Title VII. Title VII protects employees from sex discrimination, including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

"All employees have the right to work in an environment free from sexual harassment and gender stereotypes,” Lynette Barnes, regional attorney for EEOC's Charlotte District, said. "Federal law provides transgender employees protection from sex discrimination in the workplace."

EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages and injunctive relief.

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