Starbucks is facing a lawsuit alleging that it discriminates against its deaf customers.
The claim arises from the way in which some of Starbucks’ staff in the New York branches abused deaf customers. It is alleged that the workers made fun of the way the deaf people spoke. When the customers complained, the staff called on police to have them ejected form the shop.
The lawsuit was filed in Federal court on behalf of 12 of the affected customers. Part of the claim refers to a specific Starbucks employee who mocked the way one of the plaintiffs spoke.
It says :’The plaintiffs had suffered humiliation, embarrassment and emotional pain and suffering as a result of the Starbucks employees‘ actions.’
The plaintiffs are seeking an order from the court that Starbucks cease the abusive and discriminatory behavior of its staff,and pay unspecified damages.
The lawsuit refers to an incident at a Starbucks store at Astor Place, in lower Manhattan, in March this year. Around 10 deaf people tried to hold their monthly meeting.
Staff called the police and told them that these people were disturbing other customers, that they had no permission for the meeting, and that, anyway, they hadn’t purchased anything.
The police found nothing wrong with the actions of the customers and told off the Starbucks workers for wasting police time.
A spokesperson for Starbucks, Jamie Riley, said that the company would immediately investigate the claim. She stated:
“Discrimination of any kind at Starbucks in unacceptable. “We take these allegations very seriously and believe that they are neither in line with our values nor our track record of engaging the deaf community as partners and as customers.”
Don’t you think this is a ‘tempest in a teapot’? It’s hardly Starbucks’ policy to humiliate its deaf patrons; this was just an action by one or two of its workers. Let us know your opinion in the comments section below.