It has been reported that a Chula Vista woman is taking Starbucks to court in a sexual harassment case. The plaintiff believes that her case is substantiated by video footage. The woman previously worked a morning shift in her store due to her ability to work efficiently and her appreciation of the people with whom she worked. She has since been fired after reporting the alleged harassment.
As management at the store changed, the woman indicated that the work environment was also transformed, becoming more negative as the new manager made inappropriate and derogatory comments. In addition to verbally offensive behavior, the woman reportedly dealt with physical issues as the male manager allegedly grabbed her on at least three separate occasions.
In seeking guidance on dealing with the situation, the woman consulted the company’s employee handbook before making contact and reporting the situation at the corporate level. She reportedly informed the appropriate department that video footage would support her claims. She also attempted to discuss the situation with a district leader. However, that individual apparently failed to show up for meetings. She was later informed that there was no evidence. The cameras at the location were changed, and footage was reportedly deleted. A spokesperson for Starbucks indicates that the company believes that the woman’s claims are unfounded.
Although a corporation may offer a harassment complaint procedure, an employee may have a difficult time in substantiating claims without proof of the situation in question. An individual who believes that evidence could be compromised before action is taken might choose to consult with an employment law attorney. In determining the best options for dealing with a complaint, investigative work might be completed to ensure that alleged incidents can be supported with witness statements, video footage, or other appropriate methods.
Source: ABC 10, “Chula Vista woman sues Starbucks for sexual harassment”, Cristin Severance, Feb. 3, 2015