Transgender McDonalds Employee Claims to Be Victim of Discrimination

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

A transgender McDonald’s employee filed a lawsuit against the company claiming to be a victim of repeated instances of discriminatory behavior by colleagues.

Joselyn Kelly, who was hired by McDonald’s this year to work as a supervisor overseeing multiple McDonald’s locations in Mississippi, claimed staffers acted in a discriminatory way after Kelly told McDonald’s franchise owners Elizabeth and Andrew Smith about being transgender, according to documents obtained by the Clarion-Ledger.

Kelly alleged in the suit that soon after telling the Smiths about being transgender, they “either directly or through their other employees began to discriminate against Joselyn” in several ways:

  • Refusing to address her by her preferred pronoun, calling her “he” or “him” rather than “she or “her”;
  • Addressing her as “it” and using a slur;
  • Stating that “transgenders” were an abomination;
  • Mockingly calling her “Juwanna Man,” in reference to a male film character who impersonates a female;
  • Assigning menial tasks to her that were only done by entry-level employees.

The suit claimed that Kelly was “forced to resign” over the traumatizing actions of the other employees. Kelly then filed a discrimination charge against the Smiths with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC then followed up with Kelly, informing the McDonald’s employee of the right to sue the company. Kelly subsequently filed the suit on March 29 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi.

The suit stated that Kelly is looking for McDonald’s to pay compensatory damages, attorney’s fees, and other monetary damages that the court recommends.

It is unclear whether the Smiths have filed a countersuit.

Other transgender individuals have claimed discrimination against others for not using proper pronouns. A transgender woman shopping at a GameStop claimed to be a victim of hate after a male clerk used the pronoun “sir.”


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