Transgender teen: McDonald's refused to hire me

AP News
Posted: Dec 07, 2009 6:08 PM

A transgender teenager says a McDonald's restaurant in Florida discriminated against her when managers refused to interview her for a job, according to a complaint filed Monday.

Zikerria Bellamy, 17, said two managers at an Orlando restaurant wouldn't give her an interview on two separate occasions in July. Later, she said a manager left her a voice mail, using a gay slur to let her know she wouldn't be hired.

A spokeswoman for the local restaurant, Allison Garrett, said in a statement the employee who left the voice mail "acted outside the scope of his authority and was not responsible for hiring." He no longer works at the restaurant. The statement did not mention did not mention the other manager.

McDonald's "has a zero tolerance policy prohibiting discrimination or harassment in the restaurant," the statement said.

Bellamy is a male who has been living as a female for about the past six years. She said she completed a job application online, then was called to the store for an interview. When one manager refused to see her, she called later and was granted an interview with another manager.

"He began to laugh at me once he saw me," said Bellamy, who wore a suit to the interview. "He said, 'Oh, I can't interview you today. I'm busy.'"

One of the managers also left her a voice mail saying: "We do not hire faggots."

The New York-based Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, which filed the complaint on Bellamy's behalf, posted a recording of the message on YouTube.

Florida law does not specifically protect transgender people from discrimination, but administrative rulings have covered them under the Florida Civil Rights Act's prohibitions on sex and disability discrimination, said Michael Silverman, executive director of the advocacy group.

Silverman said only 12 states have anti-discrimination laws specifically covering gender identity. Federal legislation recently was proposed and could be considered by Congress next year.

McDonald's Corp. is based in Oak Brook, Ill.