The Midway Airport is being sued by a transgender server for wrongful termination and employment discrimination according to the Windy City Media Group. A former server from Harry Caray’s Seventh Inning Stretch, Hamed Khan, is alleging that the supervisors at the restaurant ignored transphobic remarks made by other workers at the establishment. The suit also alleges that Khan was subjected to unfair treatment and was terminated because Khan had called attention to the discrimination from the other workers.
The suit was filed by Khan on December 1 of this year after a statement was released by the Illinois Department of Human Rights claiming that there is substantial evidence to the claims made by Khan on four different counts back in the month of December.
Khan names MAC One Midway LLC in the suit and claims $200,000 in damages plus fees for the attorney and lost wages. MAC One Midway LLC is the company that oversees food service at the airport.
“They just put me through a living hell,” Khan told Windy City Times. “It was really bad.”
Harry Caray’s Seventh Inning Stretch hired Khan back in 2002. Back at birth, Khan was assigned as male, but did not specify with the company about being transgender. Over the past couple of years working at the establishment, Khan’s appearance became more and more feminine.
Khan does not like male or female pronouns, currently identifies as transgender. Khan was working towards transitioning to female at work and had had conversations with supervisors at the establishment about the transition. This was all listed in the complaint against the company. Even though Khan held that conversation with supervisors, taunts were still thrown Khan’s way and none of the higher-ups decided to intervene and stop the taunts.
“I was sent home for uniform issues,” Khan recalled. “My pants were too tight. I was told they were too feminine.”
In 2009, there were instances of Khan being called a ‘faggot,’ which went on without any reprimand from the superiors to those who were doing the harassment. In the complaint, it is mentioned that a line cook at Harry Caray’s said Khan’s parents, who are deceased, would be ‘disgusted’ by Khan’s life choice. Another complaint in the suit alleges that Khan was called a ‘lazy faggot bitch’ by another co-worker.
In reference to Khan’s mannerisms, the suit alleges that Khan’s supervisor, Gloria Watkins, said co-workers “were offended by his voice, actions and ways.”
The lawsuit goes on to claim that as Khan continued to complain about the harassment, the supervisors of the company schemed to fire Khan instead of rectify the problem. The reason the company decided to fire Khan was that Khan stepped behind the restaurant’s bar area without permission, which is against company policy. In Khan’s defense, employees were told that day they were allowed behind the bar to use a computer to print customer checks because the employee computer crashed.
“The managers at the company took the easy way out,” said Khan’s attorney Patrick Walsh. “They went with the status quo and bowed to the majority.”
Lawsuit Filed Against Airport Restaurant by Fired Transgender Employee