Ex-worker says Shake Shack told him to ‘explain his gender’ to colleagues. He’s getting $20,000

People line up on the sidewalk outside of a restaurant with a brick facade.
Customers queue up outside a Shake Shack in Glendale in 2016.
(Raul Roa / Times Community News)

Hamburger chain Shake Shack has agreed to pay $20,000 to a former employee of an Oakland location who said he was misgendered by co-workers and did not receive support from management when he reported it.

The former employee was trained in San Francisco and assigned to a Shake Shack location in Oakland where the incidents took place, the California Civil Rights Department said in a news release.

He reported the discrimination to management, who “failed to take reasonable steps to correct the behavior,” the department said.


The former employee was allegedly told that he would have to “explain his gender to co-workers rather than rely on management to correct discriminatory behavior.”

He left the company after a month, the department said.

On Dec. 18, a United Airlines plane went from 2,200 feet to 775 feet in less than 20 seconds, according to flight data.

Feb. 13, 2023

“California law prohibits intentional misgendering in the workplace,” department Director Kevin Kish said in the release. “Intentional misgendering and other forms of discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression can be stressful and traumatic. CRD appreciates Shake Shack’s acknowledgement of its responsibility to provide a discrimination-free environment to its workforce.”

The settlement was the result of “voluntary mediation” with Shake Shack, which also agreed to update its policies regarding retaliation, harassment, discrimination and bullying. The company will provide additional training regarding discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

Shake Shack will also report all complaints of discrimination based on gender identity and expression received at the San Francisco and Oakland locations to the Civil Rights Department for one year.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.