Starbucks Sued for Discrimination and Harassment

Three women and one man filed a class action law suit against Starbucks, alleging that their employers had harassed and discriminated against them, and that the corporation failed to penalize the offenders upon complaint. One woman’s employer, Blake Woolsey, harassed her at work, then became more threatening once she refused his advances. He was finally apprehended after he was caught by the police breaking into her home where he admitted to going through her underwear drawer. Woolsey had been previously accused of sexual harassment of another woman; however, when Woolsey’s supervisor attempted to report him to the Human Services Department of Starbucks, he was told that Woolsey’s behavior was “none of the company’s business.”

Other employees claim to have been harassed and filed complaints with the company, only to have their employment terminated shortly thereafter. In some cases, their harrasser received a promotion after the complaints were filed. A total of seven employees have now filed suit against Starbucks, naming Starbucks President Howard Behar, VP Sharon Elliott, and district Manager John Antonelli as chief perpetrators. Further information is available from Attorney Yvonne Kinoshitea Ward at (206) 292-0057.


Business Wire - July 1, 1998

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