Starbucks Probes Confrontation At Centereach Store Which Apparently Led To Gay Worker’s Departure

CENTEREACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Starbucks Coffee Co. is investigating a complaint that a supervisor at a Centereach store allegedly berated a gay employee during a management meeting, forcing him to resign.

The meeting was held last Sunday in a public area of the store on Middle County Road between members of management and the employee.

Customer Missy Alison, who witnessed the alleged exchange — which she said transpired just feet from where she was sitting with her daughter, wrote a letter to Starbucks asking for immediate action.

WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs reports: Starbucks Is Taking Immediate Measures

In the letter, which she posted on her blog, Alison said she saw “one of the most brazen and unapologetic displays of homophobia I have ever witnessed in my entire life.”

Alison said a woman, who appeared to be in charge of the meeting, scolded and humiliated the employee who she said was “visibly shaken.”

Alison claims after the employee stepped away the women at the table went on a five minute ” homophobic rant.”

The unnamed employee, who Alison said was forced to resign, has obtained legal counsel.

A spokesman for the company said it was a mistake for the meeting to be held in the middle of the store.

On its website, Starbucks said it has “a zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind” and that “the actions reported do not correspond with our values, who we are as a company or the beliefs we try to instill in our partners.”

The company said it is “taking immediate measures to investigate and take any steps necessary to make this right.”

The company said the issue is a personal matter and that it will not disclose the results of any disciplinary action it might take.

 What kind of action do you think Starbucks should take? Sound off below…

More from Mike Xirinachs
  • melann

    So apparently it is OK to spew hatred during a meeting as long as it is held in an office somewhere with the door closed, out of sight from customers forking over their paychecks for a cup of coffee. Way to go Starbucks; with one ridiculous comment you have proven what kind of company you really are.

    • tom

      yea, discrimination policy till it comes to WHITE AMERICANS!
      reverse discrimination? getting rid of squaters? ( college students who study and drink COFFEE) why dont we let you depend on everyone BUT!? six mos, thats all i give you , self haters ? i love myself for who i am, and i dont owe anybody ANYTHING!

    • Rose Darling

      i don’t think they meant to say that it was okay to do that as long as it was behind closed doors. i think they meant to say that the meeting should have been held behind closed doors number one, number two, that the behavior of the management in this situation is not condoned by starbucks corporation. there is a hotline available to workers of starbucks to call with any concerns regarding their employment situation with the option of anonymity that the worker could have accessed if there had not been a customer witness. knowing that there are often difficulties in management at any company that might exist, it will be interesting to see what is done with the situation by the company.

      • kevin

        hear, hear. dismissal should only be job related, not privately personal. I think the company will do the right thing, spank the management team there, and compensate the ex employee correctly.

  • Laura J Dougan

    i think starbucks should fire the supervisor that lead this person to resign, and to rehire the employee that experienced the abuse. its wrong!!!

  • jtorres

    It was a mistake to hold the meeting in the store. Translation: Not where there are witnesses. And it is not a personal matter, it’s a personnel matter. How often must this have happened behind closed doors? if they really want to show that they are taking action against this kind of discrimination, they should announce exactly what is being done.

  • The Cryptojournalist

    “The company said the issue is a personal matter and that it will not disclose the results of any disciplinary action it might take.”

    Translation: after everyone’s gotten all this moral outrage out of their system, this story is being quickly forgotten

  • hp

    “A spokesman for the company said it was a mistake for the meeting to be held in the middle of the store.”

    How about it’s a mistake to discriminate against people because of sexual or gender preference no matter where the meeting’s held?

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