According to the Baton Rouge Advocate, National and Louisiana ACLU officials claim the company violated state and federal laws barring sex discrimination when it fired Peter Oiler, a 45-year old married Avondale, La., man on Jan. 5.
Oiler was a 20-year employee of Winn-Dixie and had driven a truck for the last 16 years. According to the lawsuit, Oiler's supervisor told him his activity "could harm the company image."
"To be told after 20 years all that means nothing is like a knife in the chest," Oiler told the paper.
Joe Cook, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana, said if Oiler can be fired for cross-dressing, "even people who cross-dress as part of a Halloween costume can lose their jobs."
The New Orleans City Council adopted an ordinance two years ago that protects cross-dressing away from work, Cook said.
Winn-Dixie, based out of Jacksonville, Fla., would not comment on the suit.
Oiler’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for lost wages and emotional distress.