Starbucks is Being Sued for Discrimination Against Former Transgender Employee
Two months after the highly publicized, and eventual flop, of Starbucks’ diversity training, a transgender employee with the company for nine years has filed a lawsuit because her manager in Fresno, Calif., made her work days intolerable.
Maddie Wade, who loved her colleagues at Starbucks, said she had a good relationship with her manager until she shared that she would be transitioning and would prefer female pronouns to be used to describe her.
Not only did Wade’s manager, Dustin Guthrie, cut her hours, which impacted her health insurance, he cited his opposing religious views and political beliefs and began treating her negatively. He refused to use her requested female pronouns. He even let customers demean her with “sir” and “man” and laughed about it.
During her time at Starbucks, Wade has received multiple promotions and even helped to bring one of the stores up from the bottom ranks in performance to the top three. Disclosing to her manager her gender dysphoria disorder, plans to start hormone therapy and have facial feminization surgery, changed her work life.
Her complaint includes screenshots from the manager’s bigoted social media posts about transgender people:
- An image of John Wayne emblazoned with the statement: CUTTING OFF YOUR PECKER DOES NOT MAKE YOU A WOMANIT JUST MAKES YOU A GUY WHO CUT OFF HIS DAMN PECKER
- Citing as “Leftist Logic” that “Men Can Be Women”
- Deriding Bruce Jenner as someone who just wanted to “cross dress without being judged”
- “Gender is not now, nor has it ever been a preference… Take your ‘purple penguins’ and shove it up your ass!”
The stress forced her to resign as it was affecting her mental health. Wade is suing for unlimited damages.
This happens in the wake of the company’s announcement in June to provide comprehensive healthcare for all transgender employees, including transition-related care.
With a diversity training in May where stores closed to “affirm” the welcoming atmosphere of the company, according to CEO Kevin Johnson’s statement, they responded to this incident saying employees like Wade can call, email or fax others if she can’t speak to her manager:
“At Starbucks, we strive to create a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome and have zero tolerance for the harassment of our partners or customers. We encourage all of our partners to alert their local leadership the moment they feel uncomfortable or unsafe at work. In those instances where partners don’t want to speak with their manager or choose to remain anonymous, we have processes in place that allow them to provide details over phone, email or fax.”