Here’s an update to a story we brought you in May about a lawsuit brought against Starbucks by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of a former barista with dwarfism who claimed she was fired during her training period after she requested the use of a step-stool or stepladder because of her small stature. Starbucks announced today that it has agreed to pay $75,000 to settle the issue.
In its lawsuit, the EEOC alleged that Starbucks’ denial of a stool or stepladder — and the employee’s dismissal — violated the Americans With Disabilities Act, which prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to employees’ and applicants’ disabilities as long as it would not pose an undue hardship to the business.
Said an attorney for the EEOC about the settlement:
Starbucks’ swift action to work constructively with the EEOC in this case, not only by compensating the applicant who was turned away, but by committing to additional training for other stores in the El Paso area, sends the right signal from the corporate office… The Starbucks customer environment is one that is often considered comfortable and progressive. By fostering that same environment for people behind the counter, Starbucks reinforces a positive public image.
In addition to the $75,000 to be paid to the dismissed employee, Starbucks will provide training on the ADA for all managers and supervisory employees at all of Starbucks’ El Paso locations.