Page last updated at 13:36 GMT, Tuesday, 8 December 2009

McDonald's faces complaint over transgender row

Zikerria Bellamy (picture: Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund)
Zikerria Bellamy was born male but changed her gender

A Florida teenager who changed her gender from male to female six years ago is taking legal action against McDonald's for alleged discrimination.

Zikerria Bellamy, 17, alleges managers at the Orlando branch twice refused to hire her because she is transgender.

She also claims an obscene message stating she would never be hired by the company was left on her voicemail.

The branch concerned has said it has a zero tolerance policy towards any form of discrimination.

'Gay slur'

The complaint, filed by the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF) before the Florida Commission on Human Relations, alleges that Zikerria Bellamy applied for a job at a McDonald's restaurant in Orlando.

It is alleged that two managers at the branch refused to give Miss Bellamy an interview and an one occasion a manager saw the teenager, who arrived wearing a suit, and laughed at her.

She alleges the message, on 28 July, was left by a McDonald's manager.

In the voicemail message, which has been published on YouTube by her lawyers, an unidentified man uses a gay slur to describe why the fast-food chain restaurant would not hire her.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for the restaurant said the employee who had left the message "acted outside the scope of his authority", the Associated Press news agency reported.

Allison Garret said he was not responsible for hiring people and no longer worked there.

The New York-based TLDEF says that nearly 50% of transgender people in the US have been fired or not given a job because of their transgender status.

Most US states do not have laws that specifically protect transgender people in the workplace.

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Telegraph Transgender teenager says McDonald's discriminated against her - 5 hrs ago

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