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PRESS RELEASE
6-15-10

Starbucks To Pay $80,000 To Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

EEOC Says Coffee Company Refused to Hire Applicant Because of His MS

LITTLE  ROCK, Ark. – A Starbucks store in Russellville, Ark.,  will pay $80,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the  U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Com­mis­sion (EEOC), the agency announced  today.

The EEOC’s suit, (Civil Action No.  4:09-CV-0715, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of  Arkansas, at Little Rock), charged that Starbucks failed to hire Chuck Hannay  because of his multiple sclerosis.  According to the EEOC, Hannay applied for one of six open barista  positions but was never contacted for an interview. EEOC alleged that individuals with less  experience and availability were hired instead of Hannay.

Such conduct violates the Americans  With Disabilities Act (ADA), which  prohibits employment discrimination based on a person’s disability.

In addition to the monetary relief, the consent decree  settling the suit, approved by U.S. District Judge Brian Miller, enjoins  Starbucks from discriminating on the bases of disability and retaliation. Further, the decree requires the company to  provide training to its managers and assistant managers on disability  discrimination, to submit two reports to the EEOC on the training and any such  complaints, and to post a notice reinforcing the company’s policies on the ADA. Starbucks will also make a good-faith effort  to hire individuals with disabilities at its Russellville location by notifying  Arkansas Rehabilitation Services of all job openings.

“People  with disabilities should have equal opportunities for employment,” said  Regional Attorney Faye A. Williams of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, which  has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and certain counties in Mississippi.  “This case demon­strates the EEOC’s commit­ment to combating  discrimination that prevents individuals with disabilities from taking their  rightful place in the work force.”

Pamela  Dixon, EEOC trial attorney, said, “We commend Starbucks for working in a  cooperative manner with the EEOC to quickly resolve the lawsuit and for  instituting provisions in the workplace to prevent such conduct in the  future.”

Starbucks is an international  coffee company based in Seattle,  Wash. According to company information, there are  over 16,000 Starbucks locations in 49 countries.

The  EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is  available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov.