Leading Wine Magazine Hit with Transgender Discrimination Lawsuit
Louis declined to comment, but Alexis R. Gamliel, one of Louis’ attorneys, emphasized the “importance of this case in the purview of employment issues and issues related to transgender individuals in today’s world.”
Wine Spectator hired Louis in February 2022. Before she was offered the position, Louis told her future supervisors, including Worobiec and Zandi, that she identified as transgender; would need to take significant time off of work for multiple gender-affirming procedures; and would require certain accommodations upon her return to work as she recovered, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit states that Louis returned to work after her first procedure in April “earlier than was medically recommended” after a co-worker fell ill. Following her second procedure in July, Louis returned to work after two weeks of recovery and was immediately notified about an upcoming performance review with Worobiec. Louis believed that the criticisms she received were “blatantly incorrect” and “retaliatory,” according to the complaint.
An annual performance review completed in November, however, was “overwhelmingly positive and complimentary,” the lawsuit states. Shortly thereafter, Louis underwent her third surgical procedure and was prescribed six weeks of time off. During her absence, Wine Spectator gave her a raise.
While Louis returned to work at the beginning of 2023, the lawsuit states, she was “severely struggling with her recovery and experiencing significant psychiatric and psychological disabilities” and was referred to an inpatient facility for psychiatric care. In early February, Worobiec notified her that she’d been placed on involuntary administrative leave without explanation, according to the complaint.
On Feb. 17, 2023, Louis was terminated from Wine Spectator. The complaint states that her medical insurance coverage was was canceled that same day.
During her tenure, Louis claims she lodged multiple complaints to Wine Spectator staff, including Worobiec, against senior editor James Molesworth, who reviews California Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, for “changing wine scores after opening bags mid-flight” — meaning he would allegedly change a score after seeing the wine’s label.