The WSHRC had previously found that the business discriminated against a trans-identified male, and ordered the owners to change their policy to accept those who simply call themselves female. The man, Haven Wilvich, first submitted his complaint in 2020 after being refused entry on the grounds that his male genitalia were still present.
According to Reduxx, in May 2020 Wilvich alleged that he had been discriminated against based on his gender identity after trying to purchase a membership at Olympus Spa four months earlier and being rejected because he had not had "gender reassignment" surgery.
Wilvich claimed that he had been told by the spa that "transgender women without surgery are not welcome because it could make other customers and staff uncomfortable," however nobody who worked there could remember speaking with him, nor were there any records proving that he had applied.
Spa owner Myoon Woon Lee and president Sun Lee, cited the Korean tradition of jjimjilbang (sex-segregated bathhouses) and their Christian faith when justifying the policy, and refused to back down when informed by the WSRHC less than a year later that they had discriminated against Wilvich.
"We firmly believe it is essential for the safety, legal protection, and well-being of our customers and employees that we maintain adherence to this adaptation of a females-only rule," Sun Lee wrote in a statement. "We are unwilling to remake the 'jjimjilbang' haven we have worked so hard over many years to build and preserve, simply for the sake of promoting gender neutrality."
Nonetheless, the WSHRC ruled that discrimination had taken place, and ordered the spa to remove the term "biological women" from its website and force staff to undergo "inclusivity" training.
The spa sued the WSHRC in 2022, but on Monday, the suit was dismissed, giving the Lees 30 days to refile.
As Reduxx reports, Wilvich identifies as a non-binary trans-woman, and originally referred to himself as "tall, bearded, [and] transfemme."
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