Michigan Transgender Woman, La’Ray Reed, Suing McDonald’s For ‘Extreme Sexual Harassment’

McDonald’s could be in water hotter than their coffee in the wake of a lawsuit filed by La’Ray Reed, a transgender woman from Michigan and former employee of the fast food chain. According to Reed’s lawsuit, she was fired from a Michigan McDonald’s after enduring five months of “extreme sexual harassment and disparate treatment based on sex.” Reed claims that the McDonald’s location terminated her employment after she complained about the harassment to her supervisors.

Harassment that she says stemmed from being transgender.

As Fox News reports, La’Ray Reed filed her lawsuit against McDonald’s in May. In it, she claims that she was subjected to repeated and ongoing insults from coworkers because of her transgender status. What’s more, Reed believes that being transgender contributed to her termination from the Michigan McDonald’s.

La Ray Reed’s lawsuit has since been posted online, and in it, she claims that her McDonald’s job was an “extremely hostile work environment,” and that the harassment began early on in her employment with the corporation. According to Reed, working at McDonald’s was so traumatic and such a negative experience that she even contemplated suicide as a way out.

Reed claims that the harassment she allegedly suffered came from both her McDonald’s bosses and her co-workers.

In the lawsuit, Reed alleges that from nearly day one, she was subjected to invasive and belittling questions from the McDonald’s staff, questions related to her gender, and even her sexual behavior.

“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 transgender woman also claims that her genitals were a frequent topic of discussion at McDonald’s, with co-workers often speaking about her anatomy or lack thereof. La’Ray Reed says that McDonald’s employees often spoke of having sex with her, asked her repeatedly “how big it is,” and at one point one co-worker even groped her between her legs.

To make matters worse, Ms. Reed says that she was humiliated further when it came to using the bathroom at McDonald’s. She claims that she was banned from using the public restrooms at the store and told she had to use a storage closet/bathroom in the back of the restaurant. Then, she had to clean it.

“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.”

While La’Ray Reed has gotten some high-profile support for her lawsuit against McDonald’s, she is in for an uphill legal battle and may find herself unable to collect damages from McDonald’s corporate, regardless of the horrific treatment she claims she endured simply because she’s transgender.

Why? Because the Michigan McDonald’s that employed and allegedly harassed then illegally fired Reed is a franchise. Only a week ago, Donald Trump’s Labor Department curtailed rules that hold corporate chains jointly responsible for what goes on in their franchises.

McDonald’s corporate hasn’t spoken out about the La’Ray Reed transgender lawsuit specifically but has said in the past that it’s not responsible for the behavior of its franchisees.

[Featured Image by La’Ray Reed/Facebook]