A transgender woman from Michigan is suing McDonald’s over claims she endured “extreme sexual harassment and disparate treatment based on sex” in the five months she worked for the fast-food chain.
In May, La’Ray Reed filed a lawsuit against McDonald's corporation after allegedly being fired from a Michigan restaurant location after reporting the misconduct to her superiors, Buzzfeed reports.
According to her complaint, Reed claims she was repeatedly insulted by other employees for being transgender, which she believes is the reason for her termination.
The lawsuit, which has been posted online, alleges she was working in an extremely hostile work-environment and was asked inappropriate questions about her sexuality.
"Early in her employment, a coworker asked Ms. Reed if she was 'a boy or a girl,' if she was 'a top or a bottom,' and 'what's your role in the bedroom,'" the lawsuit states.
Coworkers repeatedly referenced Reed’s anatomy, for example reportedly asking her “how big is it” and talking about having sex with her. At one point, the lawsuit alleges that another McDonald's employee reached between Reed’s legs and groped her.
Reed was told she could no longer use either the men’s or women’s public restrooms and would instead have to use the bathroom that doubled as a storage closet at the back of the store-- which she was required to clean during her shift.
Her experience was so traumatic, Reed says she contemplated ending her life. In a statement, she said “There were days when I thought everything would be so much easier if I killed myself. I really felt like I had to put up with daily harassment and abuse because this was my only source of income. Finally, I decided to speak out, because I just couldn’t take it anymore. But I was fired a week after I called the franchise owner,” according to Teen Vogue.
The case has gotten support from Fight for $15, a workers’ rights movement currently fighting McDonald’s over its pay and work conditions, according to Grub Street.
McDonald’s has yet to comment, but has previously stated it’s not a “joint employer,” meaning it’s not legally responsible for what franchisees do.
Additionally, just last week, President Trump’s Labor Department withdrew guidelines that said corporate chains are jointly responsible, Grub Street reports.