A transgender woman is suing Sainsbury’s for £2,000 after claiming a shop assistant pointed at her and said ‘look how it is’.
Katie Yeomans said she was “angry and humiliated” after hearing the remark to a delivery person as she walked her dog past one of the supermarket giant’s stores in Portsmouth.
The 68-year-old, who said she “knew” that the “derogatory comment” had been made about her, reported the “hate incident” to police, but due to “lack of evidence”, the Hampshire Constabulary took no further action.
Miss Yeomans says she has experienced six similar incidents in the past four years, each threatening legal action with the organizations that would settle her before any cases went to trial. In 2019, she demanded an apology and £2,500 in damages from Southern Rail after claiming she was called ‘sir’ by railway staff.
Katie Yeomans, 68, a transgender woman from Portsmouth, is suing Sainsbury’s for claiming a store employee pointed at her and said ‘look at that’
Miss Yeomans, who began her transition in 2014, says she has experienced six similar incidents in the past four years and has threatened legal action at every opportunity with the organizations reaching a settlement with her before any cases went to court.
Hampshire Police confirmed it had received a report on the incident, which it said happened on 3 July and said “advice has been given”.
After contacting the police, Ms Yeomans then wrote a letter about the worker’s “totally unacceptable behaviour” to Simon Roberts, the director of Sainsbury’s.
But after being dissatisfied with the response she received, Ms Yeomans is now suing the shop for £2,000 in damages for harassment, believing companies ‘say they are for equality but in practice are not’ .
Miss Yeomans, from Portsmouth, Hampshire, said: ‘A delivery was taking place and the shop assistant yelled at the delivery person and said, ‘Oi, look how it is’, pointing at me.
“The incident made me very angry and humiliated, and even worse was the response I received from Sainsbury’s that was lacking in empathy and basically a complete denial that the incident happened.”
Ms Yeomans said the response to her initial letter of complaint contained nothing constructive and that it was not until she reported the incident to police that someone from Sainsbury’s contacted her and said they would arrange a meeting with a regional manager so she could discuss the situation . incident with them.
Although Mrs Yeomans – who is retired and worked at a Crown Court – called the shop in Palmerston Road, Portsmouth, about the meeting which never took place.
Miss Yeomans, who began her transition in 2014, said: ‘Initially it would have been nice to have an apology and meet them to discuss equality and education issues.
“But because of the way I’ve been treated, their response was very abrupt and there was no equality.
“There has been no empathy that I find rather disgusting for a national company.”
When asked about the matter, a Sainsbury’s spokesperson said today: ‘We are committed to treating all our customers with respect.
“We take allegations of this nature very seriously and have launched an immediate investigation at the time of the alleged incident.”
Miss Yeomans said she decided to sue the store because she felt her complaints were not being listened to.
She said, ‘I’m not suing them for the money. It was the last stage – I wrote them initially and then I sent a letter before taking any action. They don’t listen – they don’t care and yet they carry the flags when they are proud.
“It’s a matter of principle.”
Miss Yeomans said the incident took place outside the Sainsbury’s Local store in Palmerston Road, Portsmouth. She said she contacted the store and was told an appointment would be made with a regional manager, but claims it never happened. A spokesperson for the supermarket giant said: ‘We take allegations of this nature very seriously and have launched an investigation immediately at the time of the alleged incident’
A Hampshire Police spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘We received a report on Sunday 4 July of a hate incident which took place on Saturday 3 July at 8.25am outside Sainsbury’s on Palmerston Road.
“A woman told us she was walking by the store when she heard derogatory comments about her. An investigation has been launched into the incident and officers have followed a number of lines of inquiry to determine the circumstances.
‘We have spoken to those involved and advice has been given.
“We do not tolerate hate crimes of any kind and continue to work with our partners and local community groups. We encourage everyone to report hate incidents to us by calling 101, or 999 in an emergency. You can also report a hate crime via our website or via external hotlines.’
Referring to the other times Ms Yeomans has threatened other companies with legal action, she said: “Unfortunately, I’ve been in this situation with other companies before, and I find companies say they’re for equality, but they’re not in it.” practice.
Miss Yeomans demanded an apology and £2,500 in damages from Southern Rail in 2019 after claiming she was called ‘sir’ twice by staff. The railway operator said at the time that it had “thoroughly investigated” the incident and is contesting the claims
“Companies are required by law to train their staff to interact with members of the LGBT community and other members of the community, and they just don’t do it.
In a letter outlining her claim, Ms. Yeomans said she had had sleepless nights and anxiety as a result of the incident.
It read: ‘Although the incident has been denied by’ [Sainsbury’s]It has caused me a lot of anxiety and sleepless nights as a result of visiting my GP and being prescribed antidepressants.
“This is not the first time I have been discriminated against or harassed and I am not willing to be treated differently because of my gender.”