A woman has told how her partner was left “in tears” after being subjected to transphobic abuse by a member of staff at a Specsavers store in Livingston, reports the Metro.
Pauline and her fiancée Jess, who has been living as a woman for almost a year, were attending the Livingston branch of Specsavers for a routine eye test when it is alleged an employee began to laugh at Jess.
Pauline told the Metro: “As Jess walked past, one of the sales assistants sniggered to her colleague ‘that’s a man’ and had a laugh about it.
“I said ‘that’s my wife and it’s not funny’. The woman who said it scuttled off and her colleague mumbled something about how they weren’t saying what I thought they said.”
Jess later posted on twitter that the incident had been “very upsetting” and had “made her cry”.
The couple have since received an apology from Specsavers, with a promise that an apology will follow from the individual concerned. Pauline confirmed in twitter that “Jess has spoken to the retail director at
@Specsavers, and will receive a personal apology from the staff member involved, who is aware that she should have said nothing. Thank you to @Specsavers for their commitment to ensuring no one else has a similar experience.”
However, while satisfied with the gesture, Pauline has called for better diversity training for Specsavers staff in order to ensure that no-one else suffers a similar ordeal.
“It’s a situation that can’t be rectified – the damage is done”, Pauline said. “I’m pleased that the company do not share the views of this particular employee. I’d like them to commit to improved diversity and inclusion training to avoid others having similar experiences.
“It takes a great deal of courage to be a trans person facing intimate situations like eye-tests. To be treated like that is devastating.”
A spokesperson for Specsavers told the Metro that it had received a complaint, which was being taken “very seriously”.
“We take all customer complaints very seriously and we are currently investigating the incident with the store directors and the staff involved. All customers should feel welcome and comfortable in our stores and we are sorry that the couple were upset by their experience in the Livingston store.”
A former member of Specsavers staff, who asked to remain anonymous, told KaleidoScot she supports the call for better diversity training. “In my experience, the quality of training is very much a lottery, and dependent upon the manaager. Specsavers afer all is a chain of 2,000 independent businesses, and every manager has different training priorities. Certainly I found that where I worked very little thought was given to diversity issues.
“I am very sorry to hear of Jess and Pauline’s experience, but I hope it leads to Specsavers making diversity training mandatory for all employees.”