Tomorrow I have a meeting with a friend of mine at Starbucks. From the things that I have recently seen in the news, I wonder whether we should meet at a different location. For the second time in the last year, Starbucks is in the news for discriminating against a potential employee, allegedly, based on discrimination. Last summer, Starbucks settled a case against a dwarf who filed a lawsuit against Starbucks for discriminating against her in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The lady told Starbucks that she could perform the duties of a barista by standing on a stool, but after a day or two of work, Starbucks released her from employment. Starbucks settled this case for $75,000.
Today, I read the story of a new case filed against Starbucks by a man who has only one arm. He argued that he only needs one arm to perform the barista duties. After a Starbucks employee made some jokes about the one arm, Starbucks decided not to hire the man. Like the dwarf case, I anticipate that Starbucks will settle. Under the ADA, employers have an obligation to engage in an interactive process with employees or potential employees to determine whether the employee can perform the essential functions of the position, with or without reasonable accommodations. Instead of engaging in the interactive process, Starbucks summarily dismissed the thought of employing this man, and now they are looking at a costly lawsuit.
I certainly am not a Starbucks addict, but I am the last person whom you would expect to protest an organization. So, I will keep my Starbucks appointment for tomorrow, as well as continue to meet with friends and business associates at their stores. Who knows, I may run in to a disabled job seeker in need of an attorney. For questions regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act or discrimination law in general, do not hesitate to call Rich Bradford at (813) 413-2402.
For an excellent discussion of the Starbucks cases, be sure to check out: Starbucks Served Venti-Sized Discrimination Lawsuit
What are the chances of Starbucks hiring the Graske?