A former Starbucks Corp. barista is suing the coffee shop chain for allegedly firing her due to her ethnicity and because she was pregnant.
Abryanna Howard’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges wrongful termination, discrimination based on race and pregnancy, retaliation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The suit filed March 21 seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
A Starbucks representative could not be immediately reached for comment.
Howard, who is black, alleges in her court papers that she was hired in February 2016 to work at a Starbucks store on Huntington Drive in Duarte and was immediately subjected to discrimination by her manager, identified only as “Melissa.” The manager falsely accused her of not working quickly enough and of not being “warm” and “welcoming” to customers, the suit alleges.
The manager also told Howard she did not need the job or the money and made comments about the plaintiff’s facial expressions and bald head, according to the lawsuit.
“Non-African-American employees were not treated in such a manner,” the suit says.
The alleged discrimination continued daily after Howard became pregnant in April 2016, according to the plaintiff.
Starbucks management ignored Howard’s complaints and retaliated against her by issuing her reprimands, wrongly accusing her of insubordination, reducing her hours and denying her overtime, the suit alleges.
Howard says she was fired last October after she submitted paperwork for maternity leave.
“(Howard) was terminated because she was a pregnant person, African-American and in retaliation for complaining of discrimination,” the suit alleges.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: