It is almost impossible to visit a city without seeing a Starbucks. Many people in West Virginia flock to them every day for their caffeine fix. Unfortunately, one former employee of an out-of-state shop claims that a customer's harassment made her uncomfortable. Worse, she argues, complaining about the behavior to her supervisor led her to be fired unjustly.
The former employee recently filed a lawsuit as a result of the alleged incidents. She says that as part of her job at the coffee shop, she was encouraged to interact with customers. However, she claims that one particular customer began to harass her and stated that he wanted to have a romantic relationship with her. She claims that she told him to stop the behavior but to no avail.
She then took her concerns to her supervisor; in addition to asking for help in stopping the behavior, she says she requested a transfer to a different store. Unfortunately, she claims that the supervisor did not act. However, the customer, allegedly angry about her complaints, reported to the supervisor that her allegations were false. The supervisor eventually wrote her up for making false complaints about customers, and she was ultimately terminated from her position. The lawsuit indicates that the woman had not received complaints about her work that were significant prior to the alleged harassment issue.
The lawsuit makes several allegations, including retaliation, failure to stop harassment and wrongful termination. Unspecified damages are sought. Unfortunately, people in West Virginia have also been fired unjustly, often for simply seeking to ensure that they can complete their job responsibilities without harassment from other employees or customers. As this lawsuit shows, these victims have legal options that could ultimately ensure that a business or employee is held accountable for unjust employment actions.
Source: Santa Monica, Calif. Patch, "Starbucks Barista Claims She was Fired for Complaining About Customer's Sexual Harassment", May 2, 2016