Lesbian & Gender Non-conforming Employee alleges a White Plains, New York Starbucks store manager cited her sexual orientation and masculine presentation as reasons for denying her a promotion and terminating her.
NEW YORK, Sept. 26, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Joseph & Norinsberg LLC announced today a civil action case in the New York Supreme Court, Bronx County, resulting from allegations that their client, Jahmelia “Jay” Peters, was denied a Starbucks promotion despite her previous experience in the role due to her sexuality, gender identity, and gender expression.
Starbucks is being sued for unlawful discrimination and retaliation. The suit seeks compensatory damages for lost wages and emotional distress, including back and front pay, as well as punitive damages for Starbucks’ outrageous conduct. According to the formal complaint, Jay was denied a promotion by her manager, who explicitly shared with store colleagues that she would not be promoted because she was “gay” and “looks like a boy.” Jay was subsequently fired while on her break for questioning the manager’s decision. Jay had previously operated in that role in a different Starbucks location and to date Jay reports not having received her final paycheck in a final act of retaliation from the store managers.
Another female employee that the manager had taken an inappropriate flirtatious interest in was promoted to Shift Leader over Jay, despite having less experience and expressly stating that she did not want the promotion. This was not the only woman in the store that the manager had sought to curry favor with in order to have a sexual relationship, and often shared intimate flirtatious text messages with other female employees in the store.
“This is a human rights issue,” stated Joseph & Norinsberg LLC Partner Bennitta Joseph. “Ms. Peters was denied the civil right to fair treatment in the workplace based on her gender expression, identity and her sexual orientation.” The hostile environment created included aggressive verbalizations about “being bigger than you all” from the manager that Jay questioned about her promotion denial. Starbucks purports to be an inclusive workplace for its employees, but this matter went unaddressed forcing the firm to take action on behalf of their client.
Earlier this year, Starbucks employees across New York complained that stores were banned from the usual pride celebration with store decor and pride month merchandise. Workplace discrimination for the LGBTQ+ community continues to persist in psychologically unsafe environments with sentiments bolstered by Anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and bills circulating all over the country. The firm reports that it is looking forward to affirming it’s client’s complaints with overwhelming evidence of illegal discrimination as they seek rightful justice in court through the New York Supreme Court.
Joseph & Norinsberg LLC is built on a core philosophy that success comes only from meticulous preparation and hard work. We are NYC employment attorneys who believe very strongly that cases are not won by “showmanship” inside of court but by relentless and time-consuming preparation outside of court. The firm is committed to fighting passionately and aggressively for each and every client who walks through our doors, no matter who the client is or what the size of their case may be. You can learn more by visiting https://employeejustice.com/.
SOURCE Joseph & Norinsberg LLC
Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/popular-westchester-new-york-starbucks-faces-lgbtq-discrimination-lawsuit-just-months-after-pride-month-decoration-controversy-301937953.html
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