A D.C. restaurant will pay $7,000 as part of a settlement after an employee tried to stop a transgender woman from using a women’s restroom last summer, D.C.’s attorney general said this week.
Charlotte Clymer, a transgender woman and activist with the Human Rights Campaign, which advocates for LGBTQ equality, was asked to show identification June 22 when she tried to use a women’s restroom at Cuba Libre, a downtown Cuban restaurant and rum bar.
Clymer said the employee followed her into the restroom, then a manager also asked for identification when she emerged from the restroom. After a confrontation with the manager — at which point she pulled up the D.C. Human Rights Act on her phone — she said she was told to leave, and then called police.
The D.C. Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression in housing, employment, public accommodations and educational institutions.
D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) said in a statement Wednesday that Cuba Libre would pay a $7,000 penalty to the District for violating the act. The restaurant must also train staff on D.C. laws regarding gender identity and post signs that “all individuals are allowed to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity or expression,” the statement said.
Racine said he will introduce legislation to “clarify” the right of his office to pursue cases involving Human Rights Act violations.
“The District’s laws reflect one of our residents’ most deeply-held values: that all people should be treated equally,” Racine said in a statement. “With this settlement, Cuba Libre is required to maintain policies that will ensure this type of discrimination does not happen again.”
Barry Gutin, a Cuba Libre co-owner, said in a statement that the restaurant performed the training and signage requirements, and also plans to offer training open to all D.C.-area restaurant employees to “help understand the challenges of the LGBTQ community.”
“Our focus now is to help ensure safety for D.C.’s transgender community at all area restaurants,” the statement said.
The restaurant apologized after the June incident. Racine, who said the employees involved were fired, thanked Cuba Libre’s management and staff for “cooperating fully in our investigation and seeking to rectify their wrongdoing.”
Clymer called the settlement “a great outcome.”
“All parties worked together to make sure a terrible night was turned into a great teaching moment, which was built on the history of advocacy by trans folks in D.C., particularly trans women of color,” she wrote in an email. “I saw a resolution to this because of the foundation they laid.”
Amy B Wang contributed to this report.