Due to Rick’s question in my Draw the Law ADA post, I decided share this information with you all, as I know some of my readers like to coffice at Starbucks.
Anyway, Starbucks has recently agreed to settle a dispute with the EEOC over an ADA violation. The situation was that Elsa Sallard applied for a barista job at a Starbucks located in El Paso, Texas. The job did not require prior experience. Ms. Sallard is of small stature due to dwarfism (which is considered protected under the ADA). Therefore, she suggested as a reasonable accommodation the use of a stool or a stepladder for her to reach the counters and coffee machines. The manager there disregarded her suggestion, and stated that it would be “dangerous” then terminated her after orientation.
The EEOC felt other wise and here we are now with Starbucks paying out a $75,000 settlement and must train its managers and supervisors on American with Disabilities Acts with specific regard to the amendments. Remember I mentioned in the Draw the Law post that while the language looks the same it significantly expanded the definition of “disability.”
In addition, the EEOC attorney cited that Starbucks is known for its inclusive nature toward its customers and that its behind-the-counter attitude should match.
So it is always good to do training and compliance on changes of the law before they go effective or right around before you have to settle $75,000 for not providing someone a stool to do their job.
For more information see the EEOC’s press release here. Thank you to Rick for the question.