A transgender former McDonald’s employee is suing both the company and the franchise owner for what she is calling “extreme sexual harassment” and discrimination on the job.
In a lawsuit filed in May, La’Ray Reed accuses her superiors at McDonald’s in Redford, Michigan of subjecting her to “extreme sexual harassment and disparate treatment.”
Reed is 25 and worked at the restaurant full time between April and August of 2015. She claims that she was referred to as a “boy-slash-girl” and was only permitted to use an unused bathroom that was used for storage all because she was transgender.
She also says that her genitals were groped.
“I am transgender, but I have never dealt with anything like that, especially in the work field,” Reed said in a video posted by the workers’ rights group Fight for $15.
The group is currently fighting to improve McDonald’s employee’s pay and working conditions.
Reed also said that her hours were cut and she was eventually fired when she brought the abuse up with the manager.
“They actually took me off the schedule,” she says in the video. “So with that being said, it was even more stressful, even more depressing.”
“McDonald’s can’t pinkwash its record of harassment and discrimination against LGBTQ workers with a fry box and a parade float,” Pride at Work executive director Jerame Davis said in a press statement. “It will take a real commitment to equality and better treatment for its workers to address the horrific allegations in these complaints.”
Reed is currently seeking damages for loss of wages, loss of self-esteem and emotional pain. Her lawyer Anthony D. Paris of the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice says that she has filed the suit to “show that trans lives matter.”
“She wants to stand up for herself and the other employees of a billion dollar industry, to show that it’s not okay to sexually harass and discriminate against the employees who work for you,” penned Paris, who is representing Reed. “She wants them to know it’s not okay to treat their employees that way, and they can’t get away with it.”
Reed “knows she is not the only person,” he went on. “It’s happened to others and it’s gone on for too long, so she is standing up for herself and for others.”