Demand Starbucks Fire Employees Who Discriminated Against Deaf Customers

Target: Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

Goal: Fire workers who discriminated against deaf customers

A group of Starbucks customers, alleging discrimination against deaf patrons in two New York stores, recently filed suit against the chain. These complaints ranged from incidents of bullying to outright ejections from the stores in question, and demand immediate action.

One of the most shocking allegations came from co-plaintiff Alan Roth. Courthouse News noted that in an incident last year “a Starbucks employee “stated that he sounded funny,” asked him to repeat himself and laughed hysterically at his way of communicating.” In response to a request by Roth to talk to a store manager, he was screamed at and eventually told to leave. Other forms of harassment documented include an attempt by employees to have the police remove a deaf group of customers.

The plaintiffs in the suit have demanded that Starbucks implement training and company polices to ensure better treatment of deaf customers. To its credit, the chain says it offers sign language and deaf sensitivity courses for employees and that it is investigating the incident. To ensure harassment like this never again occurs, the chain should fire employees responsible for discrimination as well as work directly with the customers in question to ensure anti-discrimination policies and training are effective. Sign this petition to ask Starbucks to take action.


Dear Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks,

I am writing you regarding the recent lawsuit that was filed against your chain by deaf customers alleging discrimination by employees in two New York stores. The incidents listed, as you know, are shocking and include everything from bullying of deaf patrons to removing them from store premises. These claims go against Starbucks’ commitment to equal treatment for all customers and demand a concrete response.

So far, Starbucks has shown that it is working to address the issue. The chain noted, for example, that it provides sign language and deaf-awareness courses and is investigating the incident in question. To restore confidence for deaf and other customers in your commitment to service, Starbucks should fire all employees shown to be involved in the incidents in question. Furthermore, your chain should propose working with the plaintiffs to ensure that non-discrimination training and policies are up-to-date and effective. Please take action to ensure that harassment of deaf or any disabled customers will not be tolerated.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: KLNMAX via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. Sandra K. Walker says:

    When I read this I Could Not believe in the service you have in your store,and how many more stores are your emplores down right rude & Stupid.

  2. Cat Jefferson says:

    Fire these people immediately! Laughing at the way a deaf person talks is outrageous. Throwing them out of the store? Unbelievable! I hope this group of deaf people sue the pants off of Starbucks!

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