The civil rights lawsuit, filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, alleges that La’Ray Reed was fired after she attempted to report the abuse to her manager. She also claims that she was forced to use a broom cupboard as a bathroom after being banned from the toilets, was verbally abused and suffered “genital groping” – all because she is transgendered, BuzzFeed News reports.
“There were days when I thought everything would be so much easier if I killed myself,” Reed told ClickOnDetroit. "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."
Reed also claims that a manager once shouted at her "boy-slash-girl, step off the drive-thru", whilst she was working. Another manager allegedly commented: "You think I don't know what you are because of how you dress and look?"
This news comes as McDonald’s is flying the flag for the LGBTQ community, launching rainbow-themed fries’ boxes to show their support for LGBTQ Pride Month.
Jerame Davis, Executive Director of advocacy group Pride at Work, told the publication: "McDonald’s can’t pink wash its record of harassment and discrimination against LGBTQ workers with a fry box and a parade float.
"It will take a real commitment to equality and better treatment for its workers to address the horrific allegations in these complaints."
Last year, McDonald’s employee Andrew McConnell claimed he was called derogatory names by his general manager, with one colleague refusing to help him find a first aid kit after cutting himself. McConnell alleges the co-worker said: “You are gay, and you might have HIV."
Equality and inclusivity are issues that sit firmly within HR’s remit. An LGBT2020 report found that LGBT employees are quitting their jobs because they don’t feel comfortable enough to “come out” at work, costing businesses millions.
Ian Johnson, Chief Executive of Out Now responded: “It’s a drain on the economy to have people leave a job because they’re unhappy just because they can’t be themselves at work.
“It’s the right thing to do, to treat workers with respect, but, secondly, this data shows it’s good for businesses’ bottom line to better treat their LGBT staff, and make it easier for them to come out to [everyone] they work with.”