Transgender woman files suit against Peoples Bank for allegedly denying her service

SEATTLE -- A transgender woman has filed a civil lawsuit against her bank, saying they denied her service over the phone because she sounds like a man.

Lizzi Duff said Tuesday she felt violated and attacked, and still does now.

Duff said she called Peoples Bank three times trying to access her balance. She answered all the security questions, but they still wouldn’t release her information. Lizzi said a teller said her voice didn’t match the bank’s files, which says she is female.

She first filled a complaint with the Seattle Office of Civil Rights, but she said the bank refused to make accommodations so she felt like this was a battle she had to pick.

“Sometimes people will call me Sir,”  Duff said. “And I’ll say, no, I’m not Sir and usually people will apologize and get it. I’ll say I’m a transgender woman and they are fine with it and very friendly but when it goes beyond that it becomes hostile, and I can say it, adversarial.”

A spokesperson for Peoples Bank said that the bank was working with the Seattle Office of Civil Rights to resolve Duff's claim when Duff suddenly filed a lawsuit. The bank said, “We are disappointed by this turn of events. We are confident this issue would have been resolved favorably.”

Duff and her attorney disagree.

“We worked with the Offices of Civil Rights a little bit and found that the bank was not acting in good faith negotiations,” said Duff's attorney, Morgan Mentzer. “Lizzie felt as though she had no other choice but to pursue a complaint in the King County Superior Court.”

Mentzer said that the Peoples Bank has responded to their complaint that they filed with the county. Mentzer is hopeful about the case.