It's always serious when an employee files a sexual harassment suit. Perhaps as often as not, people who feel they have been wrongfully terminated may attempt to get their former employers in trouble by making false allegations of discrimination. For this reason, juries and judges have an important job to discover which side is telling the truth: to either protect the employee who was wronged or the company that is being unfairly accused.
After a Starbucks manager was terminated from her job, she fired back by suing the coffee chain and a former co-worker for unlawful discrimination. According to her case, she says her problems began when she was suspended from work after she was arrested for allegedly assaulting a fellow employee. Upon returning to the job, she was presented with a statement that said she was involved in an "improper relationship" with said employee -- a statement she says she refused to sign.
Several months later, the company let the woman go when she requested a transfer to another store. Among her complaints were managers and another employee who constantly tried to get her to admit her sexual preference.
Starbucks, which asserts its promotion of equality and diversity and its zero-tolerance policy on discrimination and harassment, confirms the woman was fired. A spokesman says there is no factual basis to her claims.
Although companies are sometimes found guilty of violating employees' civil rights, the opposite can also happen. It's not clear yet who was at fault in the former manager's case against Starbucks, but the company has every right to defend itself from employment litigation if it feels the woman's termination had nothing to do with discrimination.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Alicia Brooks Sues Starbucks After Being Fired, Claims She Was Wrongly Accused Of Being Gay," Hunter Stuart, Feb. 13, 2013