A restaurant in the nation’s capital has agreed to pay $7,000 as part of a legal settlement involving a trans-identified activist who was confronted by restaurant employees for using the women’s bathroom.
Cuba Libre, a Cuban restaurant and bar on 9th street in downtown Washington, D.C., has agreed to a settlement with the D.C. attorney general's office after employees kicked Human Rights Campaign trans activist Charlotte Clymer (formerly known as Charles) out of the restaurant last June for using the women’s bathroom.
On June 22, Clymer went to use the bathroom and was followed by an employee. While coming out of the bathroom, Clymer was asked by the restaurant's manager to show identification.
Clymer, a former "male feminist" who works for one of the most prominent LGBT advocacy groups in the country, was eventually told to leave the restaurant after arguing with employees about the legality of him using the women’s bathroom.
A District law prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or gender expression in places of public accommodation.
As the D.C. Human Rights Act is one of the oldest laws in the nation protecting individuals on the basis of gender identity, the city investigated the restaurant's handling of the situation with Clymer. The attorney general’s office accused the restaurant of discriminating against the transgender resident.
The city argued that the restaurant did not have a company policy that prevented discrimination in bathrooms and also failed to train its employees on civil rights compliance.
Under the legal settlement with the attorney general’s office, Cuba Libre has agreed to “stop discriminating against transgender residents.”
In other words, the restaurant has agreed to let trans-identified individuals use the bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.
Additionally, the restaurant must “institute policies and employee training to ensure compliance with the District’s non-discrimination laws.”
The restaurant must also pay the city a $7,000 fine and legal costs.
Additionally, Cuba Libre must post signs that clearly state that “all individuals are allowed to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity or expression.”
In his announcement of the settlement, Attorney General Karl A. Racine also announced that he introduced the “Attorney General Civil Rights Enforcement Clarification Amendment Act.” The bill is an attempt to clarify that the D.C. attorney general’s office has the authority to sue violators of the city’s non-discrimination laws.
“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.”
According to the attorney general’s office, Cuba Libre has fired the employees who were involved in the June 2018 incident with Clymer. The restaurant also reached a legal settlement with Clymer last year.
Cuba Libre's co-owner Barry Gutin said in a statement that the restaurant has posted the signs and its employees have completed the training requirements listed in the settlement, according to The Washington Post. Gutin added that Cuba Libre will offer training for all restaurant employees in the D.C. area.
“Our focus now is to help ensure safety for D.C.’s transgender community at all area restaurants,” the statement reads.
While there seems to be more and more civil rights laws protecting on the basis of gender identity being enacted throughout the country, Christians in more conservative cities have pushed back against such laws.
In 2015, voters in Houston, Texas, successfully overturned a city civil rights ordinance that allowed transgender individuals to access bathrooms in accordance with their gender identity.