A Burger King in Santa Monica, California, is facing backlash after the death of a longtime employee who was transgender. According to CBS Los Angeles, the restaurant's employees said Angela Martinez Gómez died after showing symptoms of the coronavirus and that the store's managers put other workers in danger by continuing to have her work while she was sick. One manager is also accused of making transphobic comments after Gómez died.
In a complaint filed with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, one employee said Gómez worked for a week while showing symptoms of the coronavirus and that the restaurant didn't provide fresh masks each shift or follow physical distancing protocols. The longtime employee died at her home on Monday while suffering from a bad cough, high fever and other symptoms of COVID-19, the complaint stated.
One manager allegedly told employees that the transgender worker died from “injecting hormones.” Burger King said it is investigating the allegations of transphobic comments, but it hasn't confirmed any coronavirus cases or reports of symptoms at the Santa Monica location. The restaurant also said there are safety precautions in place for employees and customers.
“We are saddened to hear of the passing of Angela Martinez Gómez, who had worked at Burger King for more than fifteen years. Burger King deeply values diversity, equality and the safety and fair treatment of our team members and guests,” the fast-food chain said in a statement. “We are investigating the report that transphobic comments were made. They do not align with our values and are unacceptable."
Yolanda Garcia is the employee who filed the complaint, the Santa Monica Daily Press reported. Garcia said she has developed symptoms of COVID-19 along with two other employees.
“I feel very worried and I have a bad headache,” she wrote. “July 8 I woke up coughing with chills, shaking and body aches, my right lung hurts making it difficult to breathe, and I am very tired. I am worried about my health and my family’s health; eight of us live together, and my brother and I both have diabetes. Last week I visited my grandchildren, and now I do not know if I have COVID-19, or if I gave it to them. I am worried.”