In separate cases, two former Starbucks baristas filed claims of sexual harassment against the company.
Feeling safe at work is a right accorded to all New Yorkers. Federal and state law prohibits discriminatory and harassing behavior. Despite the laws, sexual harassment occurs frequently in New York. In recent months, two cases against Starbucks made headlines.
In August 2013, 23 year old Emily Feliciano was hired as a barista at the Union Square Starbucks. According to a complaint filed in Manhattan Supreme Court in March of this year, Ms. Feliciano suffered sexual harassment from her supervisor, assistant manager Anthony Nunez, including:
- Repeated sexual advances and requests for sex
- Exposure to ongoing sexual comments
- Entrapment on a staircase by Mr. Nunez, who kissed and fondled Ms. Feliciano until she screamed
The suit also states that Ms. Feliciano was required to call Mr. Nunez by the name “Daddy,” and her complaints to company management were ignored.
In May, another Starbucks barista, Holly Wu, filed a complaint against Starbucks alleging sexual harassment during her year of employment at the Midtown Starbucks. Allegations of treatment suffered by Ms. Wu during her employment at Starbucks include:
- Co-workers repeatedly fondled her, showed her pornographic videos and photographs and asked her to have sex.
- Ms. Wu was called “Big Booty Holly” by her co-workers, who touched her buttocks even as she asked them to leave her alone.
- Ms. Wu was previously promoted but fired without warning three weeks after she complained in writing to the company.
These cases raise serious questions about supervision and sexual harassment in the workplace —, especially at Starbucks.
If you suffer harassment on the job in New York, talk to an experienced employment attorney about your rights.