U.S. sues Starbucks for firing dwarf from barista job

AUSTIN, Tex Tue May 17, 2011 1:37pm EDT

A cup displaying the Starbucks Coffee logo is pictured at one of the coffee chain's store in Boca Raton, Florida January 19, 2010. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

A cup displaying the Starbucks Coffee logo is pictured at one of the coffee chain's store in Boca Raton, Florida January 19, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Joe Skipper

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AUSTIN, Tex (Reuters) - The U.S. government is suing Starbucks Coffee Company for firing a barista in El Paso because she is a dwarf.

When the employee asked for a stool or small stepladder to perform her job, Starbucks denied the request and fired her that same day, claiming that she could be a danger to customers and workers, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The commission, which filed the lawsuit on Monday, said that Starbucks violated federal law by denying a reasonable accommodation to the employee, who was hired in July 2009 and was fired after three days of training.

"Starbucks has become a virtual icon of modern American culture, appealing to an incredibly diverse customer base," Robert Canino, a commission lawyer in Dallas, said in a statement. "We'd hope that when considering hiring a person with a disability, Starbucks would choose to enhance its brand with the mark of equal opportunity and access."

Starbucks did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Corrie MacLaggan; Editing by Greg McCune)

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Comments (63)
rbblum wrote:
No common sense is required when spreading the wealth. The Obama Dept of Justice may as well include hiring requirements for paraplegics for any and all positions. Twisted but true.

May 17, 2011 2:53pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
TheCapitalist wrote:
Hey… we must let the blind be brain surgeons, too. “Equal opportunity”, yay!

May 17, 2011 3:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
RogerCfromSD wrote:
If a person cannot safely, efficiently, and competently do their job because of a physical limitation, they should not be doing that job.

May 17, 2011 3:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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