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January 22, 2010


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Just saw the video on good morning america. The trial begins in March. Sbux's position is that they both concealed the relationship, therefore it is not the company's fault. I think Sbux should not hire 16 year old in the first place. That being said what happened to her was truly horrible.


Why would Starbucks not hire teenagers? There's nothing about Starbucks that allowed this to happen, it could have occurred just as easily at any other place that teenagers could be hired.

Should teens not be allowed to get part-time jobs?


I don't know any of the specifics- but this is a good time to remind people about the anonymous compliance line- USE it people! I'm assuming it wasn't used in this case, otherwise Starbucks would not be able to position that they had no insight into what was going on.


wait, the supervisors name is Tim Horton? lol


@jigokusabre: the poster didn't say to hire no teens, just no 16-year olds. Without any teens, Fast Food (well, ABC at least got that part right) places like *$ wouldn't be able to operate. In some states, labor laws require *$ to hire only those 18 and above. Also, with the current lean scheduling, requiring extensive availability, it seems dubious that a high school student would have the availability needed for the job.

Jason Coffee

I am not sure I can really weigh in on something that I don't have all the facts on. (But I will still try.)

Obviously the manager should have never been having this type of relationship with a subordinate let alone a minor. He plead guilty and was punished.

When it comes to the company's role I think it is a really far stretch to say they should have a role in preventing these types of situations that have been concealed. My first question to anyone with this opinion would be, How? Obviously one could argue, don't hire minors. If Starbucks doesn't hire minors who will? And what role should these other companies have in preventing these situations? Is the solution not allowing minors to work at all? That creates a whole other problem and debate.

What do you think? Is there a role a corporation could have? What would it be? or should minors be banned from the workforce?

I personally think the best way to avoid these situations is to train and equip minors to be able to say things like NO and give them the tools they need to get help when they need it. We are training adults here. And one more time - obviously what the manager did was inexcusable.

Jason Coffee
Coffee Cup News


Tim Horton? Really?


I think we all know that the real fault is in the supervisor, not Starbucks. Her case against the company rather then the person does leave some question to credibility.


The solution to shift supervisors and managers harassing teenagers is not to now ask the question, "Should we stop hiring minors?" That's like punishing teenage workers, by limiting their job opportunity, for having been victimized. And if these people harassed younger girls, the mere lack of teenagers working is not going to prevent them from being inappropriate with other people. The real problem here is that a lot of times it's not totally secret. For instance, the girl says that a couple shift supervisors and managers knew about the relationship, and as her higher-ups they should have been responsible for telling someone else about it and getting it stopped.


I think some posters are really living in an alternate reality. What makes this sort of thing possible is that almost everyone knows that speaking up about nearly any wrongdoing at work can result in retaliation. For instance, the business compliance line and mission review DO NOT keep confidentiality, even when you request that they do. Starbucks, and any other employer all feed their employees the same lies. That you can report sexual harassment and abuse, or any other ethical or legal issues to them and be safe from retaliation, but everyone knows that it's all about the bottom line. The manager responsible for taking care of any issues ultimately does what they feel like, whether they are motivated by laziness, compassion, or sexism. And then if they don't do the right thing, the company always protects its managers.

Even without knowing all the facts for sure, I would almost guarantee that it could be proved beyond any doubt that Starbucks DID absolutely contribute directly to this happening. How? Let's look at all the mission reviews, business compliance submissions, and complaints to managers on any topic from that store and district. I guarantee you that Starbucks DID NOT maintain confidentiality in any cases whatsoever, and DID retaliate against plenty of partners for submitting complaints about business ethics. And other partners know this. That is how Starbucks was negligent. I guarantee it. How can someone complain about sexual harassment in such an environment, fearing that THEY might lose their jobs?

NE Starbucks

@ Aaron I Could NOT agree MORE with you about the Compliance Line. ITS IS NOT CONFIDENTIAL. had i had the money to FIGHt the BIG beast I would have GONE after them in a Minute. After I made a Call not only did my Store Manager Know that It was I that had But my previous store Manager as well as 2 shift Supervisors.

FYI all Partners the Confidential Compliance LINE is NOT i repeat NOT Confidential.

I saw the writing on the Wall. so I left.

The logo of Starbucks should be changed to a Shade of Rose Perhaps it would be more in Line. Green Works to...after all it IS really Just about the MONEY!

I went from a Loyal customer 2-3 times a day 6days a week ZERO. Why? Because the Stores up here in the NE need SOME SERIOUS HELP! You do the Math!

Starbucks is NO different then McDonalds or any other QSR. NONE PERIOD PLAIN AND SIMPLE!


You have a bunch of young people full of hormones what do you expect?


On the otherhand let's remember she's the victim. I know a store manager who was having an affair with a barista and performed sexual favors to get promoted.


Blow jobs for a shift supervisor postition??? Give me a break. This was a teenager..she was living at home, presumably with no bills. If im in her situation..who CARES if I get fired..I dont have a family to support. This has nothing to do with Starbucks..only the pervy manager who thought he could get away with it. Unless she did call compliance and they knew about it.


Honestly, i thought the girl was stupid. If your shift was giving you problems GO TALK TO YOUR MANAGER! She didnt have to have sex with the guy or have to involve herself with any of that. I can't believe that shes sueing starbucks for this. I think the Taco Bell and McDonalds situations were much more serious but for some stupid 16 yr old to just give into the shift becuase she was afraid of losing her job? Thats just ridiculous. You've got to be kidding me.


KCakes, how do you know that her manager would do anything about it? Do you know her manager? And in fact, she claims that the manager and other supervisors DID know about what was going on and did nothing. Why do you automatically believe Starbucks? They are clearly the party that should not be believed in this case because they are the ones driven by PROFIT and nothing else, so of course they ALWAYS deny wrongdoing in any legal case, whatsoever, no matter how damning the evidence. Their statement has absolutely no worth whatsoever.

It is exactly this sort of willingness to blame the victim all the time that enables situations like this. That supervisor knows that the manager may well do nothing, that so many people will be willing to look the other way and do nothing.


I'm not so sure she was Little Miss Innocent. #1. Remember when you were 16. If some ass demanded sex via texting, would you have responded "yes" or quit? My guess is that it wasn't her first rodeo, she was thrilled to be "going out" with an adult. Then her Mom saw a text. Woops.


I think everyone needs to remember this girl was a victim. She was 16 when this happened, and where she lived and worked, 16 is under the age of consent. Furthermore, it does not matter whether this was her first rodeo or her 37th. She was under the age of consent and felt pressured into the relationship.

What I don't understand is how Starbucks has handled this. Even if they have no culpability in this matter, they played dirty pool, arguing that her sexual history should be made public, and it was. That sort of action is a major reason that rape victims will not come forward. They know that they will be victimized again when people try to find ways to blame them for their own assaults.

Take a second and remember that this girl is the victim of a crime, even if Starbucks is not responsible.

And Spence, if this was her first "rodeo" or her 131st, it does not matter. Rape is rape no matter how many people you have slept with.


@spence, that's exactly what happened.


Hey lets focus on the real world for a moment....

go to you local store and donate to Haiti NOW!

Or go to www.hopeforhaitinow.org

I think that is way more important then us complaining about Howard. BTW, his personal contribution is said to be around a million, on top of what Sbux Corp has donated.


Zach8852, we're all familiar with the disaster in Haiti. I too encourage everyone to go donate to the relief effor, but this thread is about a case of sexual harassment and statutory rape. You should be so ashamed. Just because you don't think that rape and sexual harassment are a problem, you try to derail the conversation, and you do it by exploiting one of the worst humanitarian crises in the history of the world to try to prey on people's sympathies. You are disgusting.

Is there anyone reading this thread who still cannot see why rape and sexual harassment are such a problem in our society. Every time a victim comes forward, they are branded a slut, called a liar, and someone tries to change the subject.

Burned Bean

lmfao! tim horton. was his lawyer duncan donut?

@ spence - you nailed it. no pun intended.


Aaron -> Really?
Grow up and learn to not distort what people say.

Also, do you know all the details, no, neither do I but lets leave it at that instead of name calling.

Elizabeth Asher

I will NEVER step foot in a Starbucks again. Many I know feel the same way. McDonalds coffee tastes just fine. Mine made at home is even better.

Barista Ben

Really - Tim Horton? Seriously??

Also, a shift? Shesh, a manager I could understand but what power does a shift have? Have sex with me or i'll complain about you to the manager?


I have never directly commented on a situation such as this, however I just finished watching 20/20 and was appauled at this story. I believe Starbucks was absolutely responsible when the girls mother reported the supervisor and all Starbucks did was "transfer" him. They never pursued the possibility that this man abused his power and position. She was 16, underaged and he was 24, an adult. END OF STORY.It IS ILLEGAL, EVEN if the YOUNG LADY consented.


This doesn't surprise me in the least. There have been instances when baristas at my store have been inappropriately propositioned by customers on multiple occasions (very lewd and crude comments). When they complained to management (and note: some did ask the customer to stop, others didn't. And no, the baristas shouldn't have to say anything to the customer.) the baristas were told:

"They're the customer, so you're just gonna have to smile and pretend to like it."

The DM said something similar. No action was taken until both threatened lawsuits. Starbucks excuse for sexual harassment training and policy is a complete joke. If the company (1) cared about us "partners" and (2) wanted to mitigate any possible litigation they'd have a REAL policy with REAL training.

I hope this case, as horrible as it is, forces Starbucks to get its head out of its ass and take meaningful steps. Not just more legal cover-up.


Also to add: if any of the Shift Supervisors comments were said on the clock to the Barista, it is Starbucks issue. Whether or not corporate knew what was going on.

Sherry L.

I am disgusted with Starbucks attacking her the way they have. If someone is sexually abused, their sexual history is meaningless. He was 24, she was 16...AND he was her supervisor. What else do we need to know? There are plenty of other coffee shops where I can take my business.


Starbucks is just being sleazy and irresponsible by saying they have no accountability in their supervisor's illegal activities at work. They need some sexual harassment training.

A 16 year old girl can possibly say no and quit the job when a 24 year old male supervisor demands sex, but that doesn't change the fact that the 24 year old male has broken the law by committing sexual harassment whether any actual sex has happened or not. And if the company is made aware of the circumstances and takes no action against the supervisor, they are breaking the law as well. The issue seems to be whether the sex was consensual, but if it was demanded of a minor employee by an adult company supervisor on company time and on company property, there's more quid pro quo sexual harassment than consensual definition of the relationship and that's illegal. ILLEGAL. Starbucks just doesn't want to pay out damages it legitimately owes or train its sleazy supervisors about sexual harassment laws. That's going to cost them way more than simply admitting a serious legal business oversight, doing the right thing and apologizing, and putting some reasonable policies and procedures into place to protect its minor employees, comply with THE LAW, and regain some measure of respect the public has afforded them for supplying yummy overpriced coffee drinks.

So last year it was their sleazy supervisors stealing their underpaid hourly employees' tips, and this year it's putting their stamp of approval on sexual harassment of their minor employees by their adult supervisors. Where are they getting these moral pillars of the community for supervisors? Not sure I want my coffee money going to support that kind of immoral irresponsible company culture...I'd rather buy my own cappucino machine.


I am absolutely apalled with the HR Manager. Her comments, body language, etc. was atrocious! She was judging the 16 year old and her parents with a self rightous tone, looke on her face, etc. I would not want her representing my company.

What part of non-consentual sex with a minor = felony do they not understand?

Boycott Starbucks

I cannot believe Starbucks VPs disposition that it was the girl choosing to date this guy that was the problem! He went to jail so even our corrupted justice system saw there was a problem.
I am now choosing to buy my coffee elsewhere. I won't support a company that doesn't fire a male employee for statuatory rape.

Boycott Starbucks

Ps sex does not mean your dating ask any hooker


I "loved" how the HR lady claimed that she is a better mother than the victim's mom. Like that is somehow relevant. Her kids are probably toddlers. What a moron.

Close your legs for no

OMG!!!! come on people, she was 16. When I was 16 I knew two things; how to have sex, and how to say no! she was creeping around. then broke it off with the guy. now her mommy and daddy sues..end of story. how many "young" workers quit because they dont want to clean the bathrooms? come on she wanted it!

Starbucks not at fault....

Anyone that thinks Starbucks is at fault is RETARDED! If she was being harassed or forced maybe she should have told her parents before it happened over and over again and the fact that she's had SEVEN different sexual partners by the age of 16 speaks VOLUMES!

The HR lady obviously didn't handle the situation very well, but keep in mind those videos were during the deposition, not a scripted statement to the public.

He got punished for the crimes he committed but that's where it should end. If Starbucks losses this case it will be a huge disappointment, this family just found an opportunity to make a quick million and ran with it.

latte lover

There are some very misogynistic posts here...many of you really don't get it. I have a 16-year old daughter. As a parent, I feel that Starbucks has a duty to make sure their workplace is safe for teens. I won't be letting my daughter apply for a job there. I also don't appreciate Starbucks' legal tactics...I think I'll switch to Peets!

Cubical Drone

Just an FYI. In CA the age of consent is 16 which why the guy only did 4 months in jail. Obviously she consented otherwise he wouldn't have come back for more. She was stupid and didn't have the guts to say no. Mom found out she was banging a 24 year old who was her supervisor and mom got pissed. Ever think that she is just a skanky 16 year old, did she ever once claim rape? nope...

Was this handled correctly by Sbux? Doubtfully, but even if they had, everyone wants to go for the big pockets.

juan valdez

What would Juan Valdez have to say about this? The VP of HR should be fired for making such idiotic statements. Or maybe this is type of activity is supported by Starbucks.


I completely agree with Spence.

If this incident happened to my sixteen year old daughter... I would feel at fault and would not blame Starbucks. Why?

Because I feel that it is my job as a parent to make sure my daughter knows how to say now, how to speak up, and how to deal with these situations.

Even with how irresponsible Starbucks has been with all kinds of decisions it has been making lately, I guarantee you that if this young woman would have gone to her district manager, with proof, that the situation would have been handled way before it was brought any media attention.

And @latte lover do you by chance have a list of acceptable places a teenager can work?...


The girl should have been smarter and said no,transfered out, or brought it to the district managers attention. I cab tell you this much, that would have never happened in my store. Stuff like that is the store managers responsibility. It is the store manager who does the hiring, he/she must be oblivious to not know what's going on in their store. Keep your partners safe.....need to reevaluate the managers being hired.


I think it's important to remember who the adult is in this situation and whose responsibility it is. It's the supervisor.
At the end of the day though, we are all whores for Starbucks abd take it up the ass from the Siren with a strap-on.


I think that transferring that pervert though was the wrong thing to do. It's like transferring pedophile priests from parish without notifying the proper authorities. So what if she had sex with 50 men and/or women, it's still wrong to use your position for booty calls.


What rules can Starbucks put in place to keep this from happening? I keep hearing that Starbucks should put things in place to protect minors but what specifically can they do. They already have an anonymous hotline and a rule that SS can't date Barista's. A 16 year old girl dating a 24 year old boy is not cool but don't act like that doesn't happen. In high school 7th grade girls were dating high school guys. And if they had sex is it the schools fault that they didn't put a stop to it? She consented and then never told the SM or DM, she has to take some of the responsibility.


If the financial award is large enough to shock Starbucks' shareholders, Starbucks will find a way to protect minors. Corporations have a responsbility to protect all employees, male and female. This is not about a 16 year old girl's sexual behavior and whether she consented or not; this is about Starbucks' failure to take responsibility by putting a zero tolerance policy in place (meaning the supervisor should have been fired because she was a minor and he broke the law) and mandatory training for all employees that sexual harrasment has consequences. I think this young woman was very brave to bring this public; Starbucks behavior (who made that woman head of HR?) has convinced me they aren't really all that cool. I am sure going to miss my Starbucks coffee, as I will not be a customer until they resolve this litgation fairly, with dignity for the victim.


Just finished watching this eppy and what I'm getting from actually watching (which I don't think all of the commenters did) is that the VICTIM's family sued Starbucks because they didn't do anything after it was reported. Better sexual harassment training would have been good for them. Even the shift supervisor admitted they just gave him papers like many fast food places.

They should have actually investigated and NOT just transfered HER to another store. They obviously did not take this seriously and that WAS wrong on their part. They should get a settlement because Starbucks was at fault by not looking into harassment in their workplace. It's as simple as that.

emotional intelligence req’d

I walked away from the SSC with indifference because I believed the shockingly unprofessional behavior from senior management was isolated to my design department. I continued to visit the stores as I still believed it was overall a good company, but after watching the court video of the Sr. VP of HR – I now believe this disturbing behavior to be common among Howard’s top-tiered executives. Do I expect any 16 year old to make wise decisions? No. Should an employer expect a 24 year old manager to know better and not seduce a child? Yes. Should we hold accountable the Corporation that continues to manipulate any situation so that they may appear guiltless? YES.

Shame on you Howard for allowing your lawyer to speak in such a fashion! How would you like it if someone spoke to your children in such a manner? Shame on you!

Support your local economy and small business owners by switching coffee purveyors. I did.


He took advantage of a child and should be fired! Instead, Starbucks defended his disgusting behavior!


I agree with the post by Jen, Starbucks is responsible, and hopefully a lawsuit will force them to take some action and change their attitudes. I have worked for a major corporation for more than 30 years and their sexual harrasement policies are relatively recent. I know they had lawsuits, but you never heard about the details. Sometimes I think they still don't get it.


Sorry, that was Dianes post I agreed with, not Jen.

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