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Transgender woman sues McDonald's for discrimination; claims incorrect pronouns used


Lawsuit also claims 'transgenders' were called an abomination

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A Mississippi transgender woman is suing McDonald's and local franchise owners for repeated discrimination, the Clarion Ledger reported.

McDonald's franchise owners Elizabeth and Andrew Smith hired Joselyn Kelly as an area supervisor for multiple McDonald's restaurants across northern Mississippi on Jan. 4 with an anticipated start date of Jan. 8, the paper said, citing court documents.

The suit said Kelly told the Smiths on Jan. 7 that she is transgender, the Ledger reported.

What allegedly happened next?

Shortly after Kelly began working, the Smiths "either directly or through their other employees began to discriminate against Joselyn," the paper said, citing the suit.

The Ledger noted the following examples from the lawsuit of the alleged discrimination:

  • Refusing to use preferred pronouns to address Kelly (using "he" or "him" rather than "she or "her");
  • Addressing Kelly as "it" and using a slur;
  • Stating that "transgenders" are an abomination;
  • Mockingly calling Kelly "Juwanna Man," in reference to the movie "Juwanna Mann" featuring an male basketball player who's kicked out the NBA and then impersonates a female so he can play in a women's league;
  • Assigning menial tasks to Kelly that only entry-level employees perform.

The actions were so traumatizing that Kelly was "forced to resign," the paper said, citing the suit.

Kelly filed a discrimination charge against the Smiths with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Ledger reported, and the EEOC on March 20 issued a notice of Kelly's right to sue. The suit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, the paper said.

What does the plaintiff want?

Kelly is seeking compensatory damages, costs, including reasonable attorney's fees and any other equitable relief the court deems appropriate, the Ledger reported, adding that Kelly also is requesting a jury trial.

What did McDonald's and the franchise owners say?

McDonald's did not respond to an emailed request for comment, the paper said, adding that the Smiths couldn't immediately be reached for comment. The Ledger also said Kelly's attorney, Charles Burchfield, couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

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