Starbucks agreed to pay a former lead network engineer in Seattle $120,000 plus a mediator’s fee to settle a lawsuit that alleges racial discrimination and retaliation “so severe that it required him to take a medical leave of absence.”
Victor Washington, who is African-American and worked for Starbucks from September 2006 until May 2008, alleges in the July 2008 lawsuit that a white co-worker made racist comments to him such as repeatedly telling him to “fetch” the co-worker’s umbrella and tie his shoes for him. In the lawsuit, Washington says he complained to his supervisor and to Starbucks’ human resources department, and that they took no action, although the supervisor increased his workload and gave him undesirable assignments.
The company wrote Washington a check for $120,000, which it says in a court filing was “compensation for emotional distress and attorneys’ fees.”
Starbucks said that, “Our thorough investigation proved Mr. Washington’s allegations to be completely unsubstantiated and without merit. We strongly believe we would have prevailed had this case gone further. However, we made a fiscally sound business decision to avoid further costs of litigation. Our hope is that this issue will be resolved soon so we, and Mr. Washington, can move on.”
It is unusual for terms of a legal settlement between an employer and a former employee to be publicly available, because both sides typically agree not to discuss terms of settlement and ask that the court seal any documents with settlement details.
In 2006, Starbucks made a five-year, $2.5 million commitment of cash and donations to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
If you or a family member has been subjected to wrongful termination or employment discrimination, then please contact the Fort Worth Texas Wrongful Termination Attorney Dr. Shezad Malik. For a no obligation, free case analysis, please call 817-255-4001 or Contact Me Online.