A transgender man won a $20,000 settlement in a lawsuit against the fast food chain Shake Shack after he faced a month of transphobic harassment on the job with no support from his employer.
The man, who has not been identified in the media, worked at Shake Shack in 2020 in Oakland, California. He said that he was harassed daily and referred to as female.
He told his supervisors about the harassment and instead of helping him they told him to “explain his gender to co-workers rather than rely on management to correct discriminatory behavior,” according to the California Civil Rights Department, which helped him with his lawsuit. The supervisors said it was his responsibility to convince his coworkers to stop harassing him.
His lawsuit says that after a month he grew “frustrated by management’s failure to address his concerns” and quit.
“California law prohibits intentional misgendering in the workplace,” California Civil Rights Department director Kevin Kish said. “Intentional misgendering and other forms of discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression can be stressful and traumatic.”
After mediated talks, the agency said that Shake Shack agreed to improve their discrimination training for managers and employees and adopt more strict policies about discrimination and harassment. Shake Shack also agreed to report anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination and harassment complaints directly to the state for the next year and pay the former employee $20,000.
“Creating a welcoming and fulfilling environment for all our employees and guests is critical,” reads a statement from Shake Shack. “We are constantly taking steps to ensure our policies and culture reflect our commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.”