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New York woman sues Starbucks for sexual harassment

A 23-year-old woman says that she was subjected to a hostile work environment a t a New York Starbucks location and is seeking justice in civil court. The woman landed a job at a Union Square Starbucks last August. She says that it did not even take a full week for a supervisor to begin to unprofessionally pursue her.

He repeatedly requested that she have sex with him and he used offensive and sexually charged language toward her, according to her lawsuit. The New York Post reports that she says the assistant manager told her told call him “Daddy.”

In February, her lawsuit asserts that the supervisor trapped her in a stairwell and attempted to force himself on her. As he groped and attempted to kiss her, she says that she screamed. She reported the attack and was chastised for complaining about the harassment, according to the lawsuit.

Starbucks has declined to discuss the lawsuit publicly, but asserts that the company takes allegations of harassment seriously. The company claims that it does not tolerate workplace harassment.

Sexual harassment can arise in a variety of ways in the workplace. State and federal laws prohibit the harassment of a worker based upon sex. Many stories of harassment that make the news may involve harassment based upon a quid-pro-quo type situation where a worker is asked to perform sexual favors for career advancement. Other issues can involve unwanted and pervasive sexually charged language, unwanted sexual advances and other egregious conduct.

A victim of sexual harassment may be of either gender, and the law does not require an aggressor and victim to be of opposite sexes. Notably, the law provides workers with job protection for complaining about harassment in the workplace. An employer is prohibiting from retaliating. But conduct that rises to the level of unlawful harassment is sufficient to support a claim without additional adverse employment action. A worker need not suffer a demotion or be unlawfully fired to be a victim of workplace harassment.

Source: New York Post, “Starbucks barista sues boss for alleged sexual harassment,” Josh Saul, Mar. 3, 2014

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