Tabu settles antibias lawsuit for $15,000

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Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar has settled a trans-related antibias lawsuit filed by a former Tabu employee for $15,000 while denying any wrongdoing in the matter, according to documents filed Dec. 30 in federal court. 

Tabu is an LGBT-oriented establishment located at 254 S. 12th St. in the Gayborhood. “Roe,” who is transgender and non-binary, worked as a server at Tabu from October 2018 to December 2019. Roe filed suit against Tabu in July 2020, alleging compensation discrimination, failure-to-promote, hostile work environment, retaliation and wrongful discharge. 

Roe initially requested more than $150,000 in damages, reasonable attorney fees, a written apology from Tabu and other remedial measures at Tabu, according to the lawsuit.

While accepting Tabu’s $15,000 settlement offer last month, Roe’s attorneys expressed concern about the settlement but indicated in court papers that Roe wanted to avoid the possibility of having to pay Tabu’s attorneys’ fees and costs if unsuccessful in the litigation. In court papers, Tabu’s attorneys reiterated that the establishment isn’t responsible for unlawful activity and that Roe didn’t suffer any damages. 

Neither side had a comment for this update.

Roe suffers from gender dysphoria and claimed their condition worsened due to alleged mistreatment at Tabu. “Roe was profoundly affected by the abuses they experienced at Tabu which exacerbated Roe’s gender dysphoria leading to severe emotional distress,” Roe’s lawsuit asserted. 

Roe allegedly was fired in December 2019, after gradually transitioning as a non-binary trans person. But in a Nov. 9 answer to Roe’s lawsuit, attorneys for Tabu indicated that Roe didn’t always comply with instructions regarding timely arrivals for work.

Addressing the numerous allegations in Roe’s 48-page lawsuit, Tabu’s answer repeatedly stated: “Defendant denies that it discriminated or retaliated against Plaintiff, or otherwise acted unlawfully towards Plaintiff.”

Tabu’s Nov. 9 answer also raised various affirmative defenses, including that Roe failed to exhaust their administrative remedies; Roe’s claims weren’t covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act; Tabu made good-faith efforts to reasonably accommodate Roe; Tabu established effective procedures to detect and prevent unlawful conduct such as the conduct alleged by Roe; Roe failed to mitigate any alleged damages; and Tabu engaged in good-faith efforts to comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws that prohibit employment discrimination and retaliation.

The federal lawsuit was assigned to U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Savage of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Prior to the settlement, a trial had been tentatively scheduled for May 13, 2021, at the U.S. Court House in Center City, according to court records.