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Starbucks pays $75K to dwarf barista.....essentially because she's a dwarf

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posted on Aug, 18 2011 @ 04:11 PM
"The Starbucks Coffee Company has paid $75,000 to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to settle a lawsuit for unlawfully denying a reasonable accommodation to a woman with dwarfism, according to a press release.

The lawsuit was filed by the commission on behalf of Elsa Sallard, who claimed she was fired from her job as a barista because she is a dwarf.

According to a press release from the commission, Sallard told employers during a training that she could use a stool or stepladder to do her job.

"The manager at the El Paso Starbucks location disregarded Sallard's request," the release said. "On the same day that Sallard requested the accommodation, Starbucks terminated her employment, claiming that she would pose a 'danger' to customers and employees."

Commission officials said that the settlement not only compensates Sallard, but is an agreement that Starbucks will provide training in compliance with Americans With Disabilities Act."

This is the kind of nonsense that degrades the competetiveness of US business. The woman should never have been hired in the first place as it is clearly a safety issue to have someone on a ladder handling hot liquids and the pace of work behind the counter of a Starbucks clearly would place a store with a person handicapped in this manner at a competetive disadvantage in terms of speed of service and general quality of service.

Starbucks should have fought this case. They likely would have lost, but they should have fought the case. They should also fire the idiot who hired the dwarf in the first place. Having a person carry a step ladder around to the various stations behind the counter in a coffee shop is not a reasonable accomodation. She likely would have sued if denied a position, but that is certainly a better position to be in for Starbucks than firing her for being a dwarf. She obviously did not shrink her first day on the job.

I've dealt with the EEOC on a number of employment issues over the years and they are like the KGB. Assuming that you are wrong, that the person filing suit is in the right, that you are guilty from onset. Their operating methods are absolutely contrary to our basic system of justice where you are presumed innocent.

Fortunately my firm has a policy to never settle and I did not lose a case, but hundreds of hours and significant legal fees were dedicated to these nonsensical suits.

Just one more example of how the federal government destroys competetiveness, decreases margins and hurts companies.

edit on 18-8-2011 by dolphinfan because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 18 2011 @ 04:15 PM
reply to post by dolphinfan

They should not have fought it. $75k is a drop in the bucket for a Starbucks, and you are exactly right, they never should have hired her. Once they hired her, they needed to make whatever accomodations were necessary.

Of course, you can't have someone climbing up and down ladders with hot coffee, but who hired her in the first place, and for what job? Was she hired as an accountant, or manager, or cashier? They can't change her duties and then fire her. They have to make reasonable accomadations.

This was just a poor decision by the manager to follow up an even more poor decision by the manager. Hopefully they replaced that guy too!

posted on Aug, 18 2011 @ 05:14 PM
reply to post by getreadyalready

Its a drop in the bucket for sure, but it sets the precedent that in my experience is not wise to set. They have already had issues with folks who are obese suing due to the counters not being far enough apart. They might lose, but they (as should every company) fight these suits and make it painful to pursue foolish lawsuits.

Alternatively they could have offered her some job in a regional office and not picked up the tab for her to relocate there. She wants to fork out the coin to move, let her move and give her a job pushing paper (sitting in a high chair).

A company should be afforded the right to make a mistake which they did by hiring this woman without being sued for it. Firms are not given the right to err hence they should fight and drag these suits out indefinately.


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