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Starbucks Sued by EEOC for Firing Dwarf

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. | Last updated on

A Starbucks EEOC suit is in the works, and it's the perfect example of how not to violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.

After requesting a stool or small stepladder to help her reach the coffee-slinging equipment, the manager at an El Paso Starbucks fired newly-hired barista Elsa Sallard.

She is a dwarf.

As a refresher, under Title I of the ADA, an employer must provide a reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities who are employees or employee applicants unless doing so would cause an undue hardship.

Violating this provision can cost you lost wages, compensatory damages, and years of government oversight.

The Starbucks EEOC suit alleges that the company not only failed to grant Elsa Sallard a reasonable accommodation so that she could perform her duties despite her dwarfism, but that the company fired her because of that disability.

Though the El Paso Starbucks had hired her three days prior to the stool request, Seattle Weekly reports she was fired that same day.

Essentially, this lawsuit is concerned with one thing and one thing only:

Would providing a stool/stepladder be an undue hardship on Starbucks?

Starbucks is claiming that it fired Sallard because she could not perform her barista job without a stool, and that providing one could be a danger to customers and workers, reports Reuters.

Such a hazard would arguably making the request unreasonable and outside the scope of the ADA.

Seem like a pretty weak argument? That's probably why the Starbucks EEOC suit was filed by the government in the first place.

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