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August 18, 2011


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Jeff Tom

Well, I hope she feels good for abusing the system with her lawsuit. Hopefully she will disappear forever.

And before her supporters jump in... a stool in the middle of the prep/cash areas is RIDICULOUS. It is a hazard for her co-workers and impedes the process.

It is for the same reason that employees in wheelchairs do not work prep/cash.

This was a pre-palnned lawsuit.

Coffee Soldier

Well, lucky for other companies, she is now a public figure and a quick google for her before interviewing or hiring for another job will show she is a nuisance looking to get paid...It's too bad we have to sell about 33,000 lattes to pay for this...I wonder what she'll buy first? I hope a diamond encrusted stool to carry around for all the stuff she can't reach with a thank you Sbux in green emeralds on the top.


Short people got no reason....Hum??
But you'll sell them all they want!


Wonderful result! Starbucks has a long history of disability discrimination. I am thrilled that she won. I only wish the amount settled for had been greater. I applaud this girl for fighting for her legal and moral rights.


Everyone thank 'drive' for demonstrating an utter lack of basic comprehension regarding the total negative effect this and other frivolous lawsuits have on businesses.

I <3 music

You people are so cold

James Connolly

Jeff Tom from out of nowhere with a hideous opinion. This is a truly shocking turn of events.


Wow! $75,000 for working less than a week!
Granted, she shouldn't have been hired because as we all know, a stool behind the counter is going to cause falls. But really??? $75,000 for wasting a few days of her time!


Well, guess what everyone. This suit was settled to the dwarf barista's advantage because Starbucks broke the law. Yes, Starbucks BROKE THE LAW.

If any of you ever are unlucky enough to become disabled and fired, then you too can avail yourself of federal law to seek justice by suing Starbucks.

This girl is a hero.

Barista Ben

Seriously why did they hire her? It's awful and cold hearted but I have to question why she was hired when it's obvious we can't realistically acomodate her needs. I wonder if the manager was in on it or if she threatened from the start that she'd sue if she was discriminated against at first?


Yeah James! Brilliant lets staff all our stores with dwarfs and deaf people.


Good for Elsa!!


Thank the lord for this lawsuit...Disability discrimination is downright wrong...It happens more often than we think...I suggest that people put themselves in Elsa Sallard's shoes and then maybe just maybe not be as judgmental...


The sad thing is that she probably settled for more than I made as a Barista in five years. It's awesome management decisions like this that keep this company afloat!

Seriously though, what would have been the legal ramifications if she had been interviewed, and then turned down for employment? Could she have made the same allegation?


What a shame. Defend her all you want, but she shouldn't have been hired to begin with. Not at all saying people with disabilities can't work, but when the assistance they require impedes on the safety of others... come on. Oh well. Suing a large corporation for nonsense reasons is part of the American Dream.


Great news! Successful lawsuits like this (as well the the recent one for underpaid overtime for hundreds of managers) continues to offer further proof that Starbucks, all of it's high minded rhetoric notwithstanding, is only concerned about padding it's bottom line. And don't even get me started on Howard's lame and hypocritical call for stopping donations to politicians. Could this guy be a bigger phoney?


There are plenty of tasks at Starbucks that a dwarf could easily do -- sanitizing, sweeping/mopping, restocking. In many stores, the bar is in its own little cul-de-sac, so the person on the bar would be largely in one corner spot with nobody passing by. It would be perfectly reasonable for someone in this spot to be standing on a stepstool. There are many reasonable accommodations that could be provided.

It is ridiculous to argue that one stepstool in use by a dwarf is dangerous. This stepstool would be in use and attended at all times, not randomly lying around on the floor.

The bottom line is that Starbucks often discriminates against the disabled. Maybe the reason is hypocrisy or maybe it is bad management decisions -- but whatever it is, it is illegal.


I understand that a stool in the middle of the work area is potentially hazardous, but what is the other option? To put the girl on disability because we don't like to be slowed down?


Sbux stores don't really need someone to exclusively sanitize, sweep, and stock (I can't even reach the highest shelves in my store- she would need assistance there too). Have to agree with Ben on this one.

Jim Romenesko

Dan Kennedy -- who has a daughter with dwarfism -- says Starbucks did the right thing here and saved itself some money by settling.


Jim, your statement comes off as ambiguous.

To clarify: Dan Kennedy's view is not that Starbucks did the right thing by firing a disabled worker. He said that Starbucks did the right thing in terms of dealing with a PR disaster and saving itself money by not continuing to fight in court (where it could very well have lost because, after all, it was clearly BREAKING THE LAW).

Dan Kennedy also says he was curious about the LOW amount of the settlement.


I'm not trying to be a jerk here, but there are just some types of disabilities that cannot be supported in the Starbucks store environment. Anyone who has actually worked in a store knows this.


"drive" is pretty much the only person here not spewing nonsense... pleased that you're all not my SM.


Good for her.

Alot of noobs pick dwarf to play barista without knowing any better.

Now she can afford to buy some high magic resist armor, dual wield axes, a load of pots and change her profession to warrior.


For whatever reason, it feels like 'drive' has never actually worked in a Starbucks. With the bar comment, that only reinforces my feeling; getting milks from the fridge, getting syrups into the cups, passing off drinks at hand-off... none of those can be accomplished with much speed while on a stool.

If anything, a stool would be a danger to her. My fellow partners quite frequently bump into one another. It only takes one bump to bump her off the stool and onto the floor or, perhaps, into a pitcher of rather hot milk.

Black Apron Boy

I like how we all forget one huge point. Look at how much Starbucks has to pay in lawyer fees. See how huge it is in comparison to what Sbux awarded Elsa. We can see that huge, frivolous lawsuits just hurt everyone in the end. Anyone with basic Econ knowledge would know that. Watch the South Park episode with Sexual Harassment Panda


"There are plenty of tasks at Starbucks that a dwarf could easily do -- sanitizing, sweeping/mopping, restocking."

There is not enough labor given to stores to assign one person to do these tasks. These are tasks that everyone else has to do on top of their other assigned duties. Starbucks cannot make reasonable accommodation to someone who needs to use a stool to do anything. So, what would be fair in this instance? To say that Starbucks has to spend tens of thousands of dollars to renovate the store to make more room in the back? (Of course, this would still be unfair to the customers who would lose their space, and unfair to the company further in profits lost through frustrated customers leaving) Would it be fair to assign such labor to that store and therefore take away the hours or job of another barista who doesn't happen to be disabled? There is no argument here, it is not possible to have someone on a stool working in this job as if they were another typical barista. There's someone in my store who has knee problems and can barely walk more than a few feet, and that in itself is a major hindrance. But at least she doesn't present as a possible danger to others.

Oh, and settling a lawsuit is not an admission of guilt or culpability. People trying to use this argument just make themselves look completely ignorant of the legal/tort process. If you look at the history of Starbucks lawsuits (the major publicized ones anyway) you will notice a distinct pattern. Pretty much every case that makes it into the media has been settled. It's because 75 grand is obviously not as much to Starbucks as the money they would lose in further legal battles and potential PR dings everytime the story pops back up in the limelight.


@ian, I have worked at Sbux for 12 years, in one of the country's busiest stores. I have seen it all. It is likely you are bumping into each other because you are badly managed and incompetent. A well-managed store will have a good workflow and make good hires. Regardless of that, bad management and incompetence are not against the law. However, when you bump enough so that you become injured and disabled leading to Starbucks firing you, then you too have recourse because you, like everyone else, have the right to sue for disability discrimination when Starbucks BREAKS THE LAW.


Working for Starbucks is a very laborious job. Could a small person do the job? Yes. Could someone with one arm do the job? Yes. Could someone in a wheelchair do the job? Yes. Would they really enjoy it? No. Would it be easy? No. Would the other employees become resentful that they have to do more? I would. If you employed these three people, how would your customers react? At first, applause at your choice to employ someone with a disability. After a short time, business elsewhere because they'd have to wait exponentially longer for service. And don't think you'd get any consideration from the DM for it. Absolutely not. It's a job that is doable for anyone, but not necessarily practical. Imagine being the SS with the dwarf partner, two person deployment. You put them at register, on their stool. You're at bar. Now, you have to do bar, get pastries, get drip coffee, do heating, and anything else that requires moving from one spot, just because it would take so much longer to have the other partner get down, carry their stool, climb back up,...you get it. The constant need to move move move just makes it very difficult to have someone planted in one spot. It sucks, but it is. When we had the noncoverage, I hired a mentally challenged 16 year old who did dishes, cafe slides, tossed the trash out, and stocked. We LOVED her, as it made our jobs so much easier. We don't have that luxury now.

just saying

i had a shorty who had a stool. they weren't a 'little person', but they were pretty little - and it wasn't that big of a deal. they weren't on the stool at all times, just when trying to reach the handoff plane. and they could lift & rotate the urns, so they also dealt well while on till.

if someone is short, it is possible to do starbucks pretty easily. if they're not too short -- if they can't carry a case of milk, or a full batch of coffee, then they shouldn't be hired -- but if they can do that, then placing a stool to assist them on, isn't too big a deal..
it's just another thing to look out for.


little people have feelings too!

Cameron Hall

Midgets are sexy!!!!


don't say bad things about midgets you perv ^^

Just Me

None of you have any evidence that in this particular instance, a stool would present any danger to employees. What you are doing is imagining how their workspace looks like, which is not the same as having evidence.

Maybe "guilty until proven innocent" works in your head, but not in the U.S., and here the evidence points to Starbucks being guilty. So, to paint an imaginary picture of a stool being a dangerous weapon, or the girl having planned this is just stupid.

If disabled people create such an emotional discomfort to you at your work environment, kindly get a job elsewhere. Silly me, I'm assuming you have skills that go beyond pouring coffee into a cup.

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