A trans woman is suing McDonald’s over alleged sexual harassment which included having her genitals groped and being forced to use a broom closet as a bathroom.
La’Ray Reed, from Wayne County, Michigan, said she considered suicide during the period of abuse, but she was fired after telling her superiors about the harassment.
She was dismissed despite performing to a “satisfactory to exemplary manner,” according to the civil rights suit she has filed.
The document states that soon after Reed started at McDonald’s in April 2015, a coworker asked her “if she was ‘a boy or girl,’ if she was ‘a top or bottom,’ and “what’s your role in the bedroom.’”
Despite Reed making it clear that remarks like these were not welcome, “managers and coworkers alike routinely made inappropriate comments toward Ms Reed and taunted her based on her sex.
“This included asking Ms Reed questions such as ‘how big is it’ and talking about having sex with her,” the filing – made public thanks to BuzzFeed – continues.
In one particularly horrendous incident, Reed was allegedly sexually abused by a coworker.
The filing describes how she “heard her manager Sheena say through the headset for all employees to hear ‘You can’t feel it from the front, you have to feel it from the back.’
“At that moment, a coworker named Kelly reached between Ms Reed’s legs from behind and groped Ms Reed’s genitals.
“Ms Reed was traumatised by the experience. “
Speaking to campaign group Fight for $15, she said the management’s response to this was to cut her hours, rather than address the abuse.
The targeted harassment was so bad that she had considered suicide, she said.
“I thought I should take a lot of pills, and I could go to sleep and not wake up anymore.
“And everything would be so much better, because then I would not be transgender and I wouldn’t have to experience the stuff that I experienced at McDonald’s.”
The documents also details how Reed was “working the drive-through when her manager, Denise, said in a loud and demeaning voice and for others in the vicinity to hear, ‘Boy-slash-girl, step off drive-through!’
She was allegedly banished to back-of-house assignments after that, and was not seen at the drive-through again.
Reed’s use of the women’s bathroom was also questioned by managers and coworkers, the document states.
After a coworker allegedly spied on her while she went to the toilet, one of her managers “directed her to clean a filthy, unused bathroom that served as a broom closet in the back of the store.
“After Ms Reed finished cleaning the broom closet bathroom, she was barred from using both the men’s and women’s bathrooms used by other employees (and customers),” the filing continues.
“Ms Reed was required to only use the broom closet bathroom in the back of the house from that point forward.”
As a last humiliation, the filing says that Denise told Reed she had to sign two forms before getting her final pay cheque – which ended up being worth just 16 cents.
She filed the lawsuit after stating that she received no help from McDonald’s during her time working at the store.
Reed “suffered severe mental and emotional trauma and emotional distress, causing her to contemplate suicide and require treatment,” the document said.