EEOC Sues for Disability Discrimination

Another suit has been filed by the EEOC for disability discrimination.  This one may surprise you as the company being sued is Starbucks.  The EEOC has described the situation as follows:  A woman who is of short stature was hired by Starbucks in El Paso, TX to work as a barista but was only allowed to train for 3 days before she was fired. Soon after being hired, the employee asked to use a stool or small stepladder to perform the essential functions of preparing orders and serving customers at the counter. Starbucks disregarded her request and refused to consider her use of a stool or stepladder and then later that same day. Starbucks terminated her employment, claiming that she could pose a danger to customers and employees.

The EEOC is seeking injunctive relief, including the formulation of policies to prevent and correct disability discrimination. The suit also seeks lost wages and compensatory damages for the woman and punitive damages against Starbucks Coffee Company. The EEOC states that they only filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement.

In this case it seems that once again the issue was based on a fear-driven reaction which could have easily been prevented with easy-to-implement policies and training, things that Springboard helps companies with on a daily basis.


This information should not be construed as "legal advice" for a particular set of facts or circumstances.  It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject.  Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.