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Burger King outlet makes transgender staff work despite Covid-19 symptoms, blames death on 'hormone injections'

Angela Martinez Gomez, from Oaxaca, Mexico, worked her last shift at the restaurant in Santa Monica, California, on June 29. She died last Monday, sparking outrage among co-workers
Angela Martinez Gomez (GoFundMe)
Angela Martinez Gomez (GoFundMe)

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA: A Burger King joint in California is facing backlash after a transgender employee who showed symptoms of Covid-19 was kept on the clock until she succumbed to the disease. Reportedly, the management later blamed her death on "hormone injections".

Angela Martinez Gomez, from Oaxaca, Mexico, worked her last shift at the restaurant on Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica on June 29. She died last Monday, sparking outrage among co-workers, one of whom has since lodged a complaint with the LA Department of Public Health saying managers had failed to act despite Angela showing symptoms of the virus and let her continue work.

According to Yolanda Garcia, who says she's now the third employee to develop coronavirus symptoms, Burger King has not contacted any employees about getting tested for Covid-19 or quarantining. Furthermore, she has accused the management of failing to enforce social distancing and provide workers with fresh face masks at the workplace.

Garcia said managers allegedly told her Angela had died from injecting herself with hormones. The 42-year-old had shown up to work "coughing, feeling nauseous, and was frequently taking bathroom breaks," according to the complaint obtained by The Santa Monica Daily Press. She was treating herself with cough medicine in the meanwhile, and left sick early on her last day at the restaurant.

Soon after Angela's exit, another female employee Mariela started showing Covid-19 symptoms. However, there was no action from management. "Burger King has not told us there are Covid-19 cases or suspected cases at the store and they are not being honest about what happened with Angela and Mariela," Garcia said in her complaint.

"Angela had Covid-19 symptoms at work, but Burger King blamed her sexuality instead of Covid-19 as the cause of her death," she continued. "I told [the manager] I was going to get tested for Covid-19, and she said she was going to get tested too, but she also said she didn't think Angela died of Covid-19, she said Angela died of injecting hormones. That doesn't make sense to me."

A Burger King spokesperson told CBS LA in a statement on Saturday that the company had not received any reports of Covid-19 symptoms from the branch, adding that they are yet to confirm Angela's cause of death. "We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Angela Martinez Gómez, who had worked at Burger King for more than fifteen years," the spokesperson said. "The restaurant will undergo a deep disinfection this evening." The fast-food chain has also vowed to take "swift action" and investigate reports of "transphobic comments" a the workplace. "They do not align with our values and are unacceptable. Creating an inclusive and welcoming environment is a priority for us and we will be sure to take swift action in this case."

A GoFundMe campaign has since been launched by family members in hopes of raising money to pay for Angela's funeral. "Angela left a mark on all the people that met her, she was always a very happy and humble individual," the page reads. "Her friends, family, and acquaintances will always carry her in our hearts. She taught us to fight for our dreams and to be ourselves. For those reasons and for many more, we will miss her so much for the rest of our lives."