Lawsuit against McDonald’s by Transgender—What Makes This Case Unique

Although other people have sued McDonald’s over sexual harassment, La’Ray Reed, a 25-year-old crew-member at a Redford, Michigan Mickey D’s, is alleging things and exposing issues that are unique.


What Are the Allegations?


Miss Reed, a transgender, alleges that:

  • She was a victim of not just verbal harassment but “physical”—i.e., involving being “groped” and touched inappropriately;
  • Both managers and fellow employees harassed her;
  • She did complain, only to be ignored, ridiculed, and, ultimately, fired;
  • She was denied access to both male and female bathrooms—instead forced to use a separate alternate, nasty-looking “closet” she was, to boot, forced to keep clean;
  • Her hours were cut short, was often sent home early, was denied contact with customers (instead being relegated to backroom duties), and was treated differently than other employees;
  • Inappropriate comments were routinely made against her;
  • She may have been singled-out because of her involvement with “Fight for $15,” an organization working to enhance/improve fast-food restaurants;
  • Abuse/discrimination led to depression and thoughts of suicide.


Why This Case May Have Serious Repercussions


Interestingly, McDonald’s has professed to be supportive of LGBT rights and, supposedly, has a zero-tolerance policy regarding discrimination.


Some of the legal and corporate-governance questions promising to heat things up include:

  1. Since this restaurant is a privately-owned franchise, to what extent can McDonald’s be held responsible?
  2. Will a settlement offer be made and accepted by Miss Reed or will this go to trial?
  3. Will the case go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary?
  4. How will this case affect the highly-charged environment involving sexual-identity/orientation rights?
  5. How will the Trump administration deal with cases like this?
  6. Will the federal government continue to allow states almost complete leeway regarding laws and policies on name and birth certificate changes, parental rights, and the other issues still-unresolved or only-partially-addressed?
  7. Will this case encourage more transgendered abuse victims to come forward?
  8. How many of Miss Reed’s allegations are true and to what extent will McDonald’s side with its franchisee?



Even if only half of Miss Reed’s allegations are true, this is still a very disturbing case. At the very least, McDonald’s may be motivated to more strongly enforce its corporate policies; more importantly, Miss Reed will get the justice all citizens deserve.