Starbucks Employees Accused of Mocking Deaf Customers

Not good.
Not good. Photo: e-magic/Flickr

A damaging new lawsuit claims that employees at two different New York City Starbucks outposts poked fun at deaf customers — and then refused to serve them. Alan Roth, who’s one of twelve plaintiffs that lawyer Eric Baum is representing, says he’d “never before been so blatantly and maliciously been discriminated against”: A barista at the 424 Park Avenue South outpost laughed at him as he tried to place an order, and when Roth asked to speak to a manger, employees screamed at him and told him to leave and never return.

A similar situation happened at 13-25 Astor Place, where Starbucks employees called the cops because the “Deaf Chat Coffee” social group chose to gather there. After the cops left, the employees forced the group out of the coffee shop.

Starbucks HQ responded to the complaints by offering an apology and a gift card, which doesn’t help if you’ve been cruelly and unjustly banned from an establishment. Now Baum is seeking “unspecified money damages, a court order barring discrimination against the deaf, and better training for Starbucks employees,” reports the Daily News. A spokeswoman for Starbucks says, “Discrimination of any kind at Starbucks is unacceptable.”

This is the second big lawsuit to hit Starbucks recently: In late June, the New York State Court of Appeals sided with the company by granting shift supervisors access to the tip pool, angering baristas and higher-level assistant managers. One thing’s for sure: None of the employees involved deserve tips — or their jobs.

Starbucks workers in deaf jam [Starbucks]

Earlier: Breaking Down the Starbucks Tip-Jar Case

Starbucks Employees Accused of Mocking Deaf Customers