A trans woman has been awarded £9,000 after taking a sex discrimination case against retailer Debenhams.
Ava Moore applied for Christmas work in 2018 in the store’s Newry branch and was called for interview.
Despite a positive interview which resulted in a sale, Ms Moore was not offered the job.
The case was settled through the Equality Commission with Debenhams accepting no liability.
In s statement, the retailer said:
“[Debenhams is an] equal opportunities employer committed to promoting equality and diversity within the business and throughout the sector.
“Decisions on recruitment, training, promotion and employment conditions are based solely on personal competence and performance.”
Ms Moore told the Belfast Telegraph that the decision was “bittersweet” and she hopes it will inspire others to come forward.
“I was all geared up and ready to go,” she said of the 2018 interview.
“Everything was going great, I sold something, which is very uplifting and made me feel like ‘I’ve still got it’.”
Ms Moore said the job would have been a perfect fit, having worked in retail for 16 years.
After managers asked for her birth certificate, she says the atmosphere “went very cold”.
“It went from ‘welcome to Debenhams’ to very quiet.
“I left the interview room to walk through a canteen full of gawpers and starers, almost like people ready to burn the monster.
“I was very disheartened and it has knocked my confidence.”
She resolved to “stand up and fight” saying she hopes by hearing about her case, others can find the courage to do the same.
“I’m happy it’s settled and resolved, but I hope it gives other people hope just to get up and do it,” she said.
She said that in her experience, Northern Ireland is becoming a better place for trans people to live and has since found another job outside of retail.
“In my experience, it’s getting there, with the help of kindness and manners and being polite to everybody, not just trans people, everybody.”
“I’m very blessed with the staff and a manager who is very kind and respectful to me,” she said.
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