A New Jersey woman has filed a lawsuit against Starbucks, claiming she was unfairly terminated for refusing to wear an official company Pride T-shirt that she says violated her religious beliefs Have done
When Betsy Fress began working as a barista at a Starbucks in Hoboken in 2018, she accused him of court filings, with her managers aware of her religious beliefs. She requested to regularly attend church ceremonies on Sundays and some evenings.
A few months later, Fress moved a Starbucks to Glen Ridge, New Jersey.
In June 2019, she and other employees went to attend a meeting at the store manager’s office, where she claims she saw a box of Starbucks Pride T-shirts on the floor from her desk. After exiting the room, Fress asked the manager if he would need to wear a shirt during his shift. According to Fress, she said she would not.
But, according to her suit, which was filed last week in the US District Court for the District of New Jersey, she was contacted several weeks later by the Ethics and Compliance Helpline of Starbucks, which exempted her from wearing a Pride shirt. The request was briefed. She explained to the Ethics and Compliance Representative that she did not want the Pride shirt to go to war “because her religious beliefs prevented her from doing so,” the suit states. Then, on August 22, 2019, Fress was informed that he was being terminated, as “his understanding was not in compliance with the core values of Starbucks.” According to her notice of separation, when she was given a Pride shirt – which Starbucks said employees were not required to wear – Fress said she did not want to wear it and that her co-workers “needed Jesus.”
In his lawsuit, Fress claimed that “all people need Jesus” and called Christians “to express in word and to express the love of Christ for all”.
She says she has served all her clients with respect and “has no animosity toward individuals who conform to the LGBTQ lifestyle.” He made some co-workers aware of their religious beliefs regarding sexuality, however, “on specific inquiries,” according to the suit.
Ordered to wear a pride shirt as a condition of employment, the suit alleged, “it would be wrong to forcibly make speeches and wrongly show a life-style advocacy contradicting his religious beliefs.”
According to the filing, Frace believes that “God created man and woman, that marriage is defined in the Bible as only between a man and a woman, and any sexual activity that occurs outside this context Contrary to his understanding of the teaching of the Bible. “
Fress filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in February and was asked to file a lawsuit in August. She is seeking payment back with interest, as well as compensation for emotional pain and suffering, and punitive damages.
A Starbucks spokesperson told NBC News that Fress’s claims are “without merit” and the company is set to present its case in court. “Starbucks does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation,” the spokesperson said in an email. The spokesperson stated that, in addition to Starbucks’ trademark green apron, “no part of our dress code requires partners to wear any approved items that they have not personally selected.”
On its website, Starbucks claims that it is “committed to maintaining a culture where inclusion, diversity, equity and access are valued and respected.”
But, the lawsuit alleges, the company tried to exclude and silence Mrs Fress, whose religious beliefs were considered undesirable.
Fresse’s lawyers did not respond to a request for comment.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex and national origin”. In September, two workers at the Kroger supermarket in Arkansas sued, claiming that soon after the onset of the coronovirus epidemic, it was refused to wear a store apron with a rainbow heart symbol on it.
Plaintiffs, Brenda Lawson and Trudy Rickard retained the logo, supporting the LGBTQ community, which violated their complaint that “homosexuality is a sin,” according to their complaint. After being disciplined for violating the store’s dress code, both Lawson and Rickard were eventually terminated.
The EEOC, which is representing both in the suit, claims that Kröger engaged in illegal employment practices, causing them to retaliate for “requesting religious beliefs and requesting a religious accommodation.”
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