Friday, July 12, 2013

Starbucks sued for refusing to Serve the Deaf

A dozen deaf New Yorkers say some Starbucks in the city are refusing serve them. They have even been thrown out of the coffee shop and made fun of them. The group's lawsuit says it has happened more than once, at more than one Starbucks. The man taking the lead in the lawsuit, Lawrence Bitkower, organizes monthly coffee chats for the deaf. He says Starbucks refused to serve his group, telling them in writing that Starbucks doesn't serve deaf people. Another man involved in the lawsuit, Alan Roth, says last year he tried to get coffee at a Park Avenue Starbucks but was laughed at and then yelled at when he asked to see a manager. Roth says the manager did nothing in response to his complaint. Another deaf person said they saw a Starbucks employee reprimanded for trying to communicate with a deaf customer using sign language. In once instance, police were called to remove a deaf group for causing a disturbance. The deaf plaintiffs say the police ended up reprimanding the Starbucks employees. Starbucks CEO Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz apologized and send a gift card, but the lawsuit complains that no action has been taken by the company to educate its employees about deaf customers... and the problem continues. Starbucks has yet to respond to the lawsuit.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Starbucks is disgusting how they treat disabled people

Anonymous said...

Disrespectful

Anonymous said...

This is why I never go to Starbucks

Anonymous said...

Wow.here Michigan we do have good Starbucks and verybwell respect to our Deaf customers. Someday New York will not have good business for Deaf Community

Anonymous said...

Deaf are not disabled but use a different mode of communication and I hope they win the suit!

Anonymous said...

Starbucks employees are acting rude and unfair!!!

Margaret A-T said...

But!!! NYC is the most worset! You do not realized Starbuck Headquarter do hired Deaf employers. you do not aware of that. I think I would rather blame NYC Starbuck who are unfriendly!!

Shame on Starbuck in NYC over 30 thousand deaf and hard of hearing people lives in NY. Give me a BREAK!

Anonymous said...

They're not disabled, they just can't hear. If you get a cold and can't smell, you're not disabled.

ReformedTheology5 said...

What nerve, unbelievable. Deaf people are an ethnic cultural-linguistic minority. The lawsuit is well-deserved. Starbucks cannot discriminate a customer (esp not an entire group) based on a physical auditory lack. This is racist AUDISM!

MM said...

Coffee is bad for you anyway :)

Shannon Mulligan said...

Deaf are NOT disabled. But, I do agree that Starbucks is wrong. They are the Abercrombie & Fitch of the coffee industry!

Anonymous said...

Hearing American are so stubborn and they die hard for never changing their attitude toward the deafs!!

Anonymous said...

I work at a Starbucks, and we even have an ASL translator that works at our store. Our employees are nothing but nice to the deaf community that comes in. There are many deaf people that come into our store, refuse to have our ASL translator help communicate, refuse to write things down on paper, then get very angry that we don't understand them. There is a regular who is an older deaf man who constantly rips us off and steals things from the store because he thinks that since we cannot understand what he wants, and he won't politely communicate with our ASL translator barista, or write down what he wants on paper, he constantly milks his disability for all it's worth. Not always is Starbucks to blame.

Anonymous said...

Deafness is legally considered a disability, otherwise deaf individuals would not be able to collect SSDI. However, to minimize the stigma, Deaf people will often say they are not disabled, because d/Deaf people can often do anything a person who can hear can do, with slight modification, or what the law refers to as a "reasonable accommodation." I am a sign language interpreter, and I have been for about fifteen years. In my early years, I worked often in the community, and when in the education setting, primarily in community college settings. Today, I work with CEOs and in Ivy League universities. Most folks want to help people get a step up. For Deaf people, having the respect and opportunity has catapulted them to success. They are hard working, resourceful, and a huge asset to our country. I hope that this lawsuit will bring attention to this discrimination. However, in my city Starbucks goes out of its way to respect the Deaf Community. (Capital D in the word Deaf refers to deaf individuals who identify as members of what is called the Deaf Community and use sign language as their primary mode of communication.)

Anonymous said...

This is a lie, Starbucks serves anyone and everyone no matter what disability. They are equipped with a book of the drinks and modifications in braille print, and a laminated photo copy of the drinks so people that are deaf and the blind can choose what to order easily.

Anonymous said...

I am hearing. I am sorry you feel this way about us. I took a few years of sign language. It is a beautiful language.

Anonymous said...

My Starbuck site in North Arlington (Texas) had no problem. Employees and manager knew ASL. I told everyone to support the business, please buy drink to appreciate the business. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Deaf people ARE disabled. I am Deaf (severely hard of hearing), and being unable to hear is a disability.

Thank you for standing up for.the Deaf community, but please do it with facts, not denial.

Anonymous said...

Unbelieveable,its Discrimation obviously! ! Sue Starbucks in New York and teach workers to respect everyone as equal!!

GO fight for our rights!!

Stan Payne said...

The customers are 99% of the time, ALWAYS right. Those assholes at the NYC Starbucks franchises all should be fired for discrimination against the deaf and people with disability. What those Starbucks employees did was a direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, state laws, city laws and their company's policy. These employees needs to get educated.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Stan. You are right thing about Starbucks co. The Staarbuck are wrong instult to deaf people. The Starbucks Should be all of them fired in NYC. The Deaf people need to ed at working there and they want to teach asl to emplees and how to talk to people to peole and The Deaf need learn how to talk to people. The Starbuck should not Disabilities on Deaf peoples. It is Laws DO NOT DISABILITIES ON THE DEAF PEOPLE. The starbucks will going to sorry for them and the starbuck should be going to building Down and closed for years in NY NYC.

Anonymous said...

I wonder who are you? I am from Michigan as well. Indeed, I enjoy employees at Starbuck and Tim horton because they treat me nicely. Whenever I order something, they get what I want. They did a great job. Never complain. But over in New York, I don't know what is going on with those deaf group. Perhaps, tensions between starbuck employers and deaf group. sometimes, how deaf people give them their attitude and starbuck employees might protest against them if they mistreat them like rude. Who knows. It makes me think maybe it's just the deaf group's action. That's why they felt like they didn't want to do anything with them. It sounds unfair to the deaf group. I totally agree that the starbuck employees did wrong. Maybe they should have talked to the manager or CEO to do something about them.

Anonymous said...

Starbucks employees in all 3 locations I patronize in NC are friendly and accommodating. I suspect that the problem with that particular location is the fact that a group was involved, probably taking many tables for many hours and being loud and/or rowdy and disturbing others. We need to wait for Starbuck's response to this lawsuit to get the real picture.

Anonymous said...

I don t believe this story. I worked for Starbucks and while there they hired a deaf barista.