Starbucks was sued by the US government after it fired a dwarf barista when she asked for a stool to do her job. Was it a reasonable accommodation request and did the coffee-retailer show bias?
After celebrating its 40th anniversary in business, the largest coffee retailer in the world is under fire for bad behavior.
Unfortunately, the milestone the company celebrated months ago received a blemish by a legal action it is now defending.
According to the Huffington Post, a barista in El Paso asked management if she could use a stepladder or stool to better do her daily duties.
Starbucks was later sued for its alleged reckless response.
So far, the story reads like a horror story or appears like an episode from Ashton Kutcher's "Punk'd."
However, it gets worse, according to the lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The reason Starbucks said it fired the dwarf barista is her request posed a danger to workers and the public should a fall or tripping take place.
The EEOC in El Paso filed its lawsuit on the basis that the coffee maker denied a worker a reasonable request for a public accommodation.
As unconscionable as the actions were from the coffee maker in this lawsuit, it is important to remember these are just allegations. The burden on the government is now proving its case that the actions did not violate "public accommodation" laws.
Certainly, the company will prove that its actions were not part of bias and every refusal of is not always non-compliant. In other words, if granting the request creates a hazardous situation, it is not always unlawful.
Do you think Starbucks should be sued for firing the dwarf barista?
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Image: Wikimedia Commons