US trans teen sues McDonald’s for discrimination

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A trans teenager who claims she was twice denied a job by McDonald’s is suing the fast food chain for discrimination.

Zikerria Bellamy, 17, of Florida, also claims she was left an offensive voicemail by a manager at the Orlando restaurant which said: “We do not hire faggots.”

Bellamy began living as a girl at the age of 11and is being supported in her case by the Transgender Legal Defence and Education Fund (TLDEF).

A lawsuit filed at the Florida Commission on Human Relations alleges she was twice rejected from interviews and was laughed at by one manager when she was wearing a suit.

The alleged incidents took place in July this year.

In a statement, Bellamy said: “I just wanted to earn to some money and was willing to work hard at this job. In the current economy, jobs are really hard to find. I never expected to be judged on who I am, instead of being judged on whether I can do the job.”

The TLDEF estimates that 47 per cent of trans people report being fired, or denied a job or promotion, because of their trans status.

Federal law offers no job protection for trans people and 38 states do not offer legal protection either.

TLDEF executive director and attorney Michael Silverman said: “Zikerria should not have been denied a job just because she is transgender. Like everyone else, she deserved to be judged on her ability to do the job and not on who she is.

“Transgender Americans should have the chance to earn a living and provide for their families without being refused a job or fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their ability to do the job.”

A statement released by the restaurant, which is on International Drive, said: “The behaviour of the individual in question is not reflective of the employment policies in the organisation. Further, this individual acted outside the scope of his authority and was not responsible for hiring. The individual in question is no longer employed by the restaurant.”

It added that all employees are required to abide by state anti-discrimination laws.

In Florida, while no law explicitly addresses discrimination based on gender identity, it has been have ruled that trans people are protected by the Florida Civil Rights Act’s prohibitions on sex and disability discrimination.

The Competitive Workforce Bill, which would add gender identity and sexual orientation to the Florida Civil Rights Act, was introduced in the Florida legislature on November 20th.