Donna Goodison of the Boston Herald reports that a former Starbucks barista and alleged sexual assault victim is suing the Seattle chain, claiming she was exposed to repeated sexual harassment at a Saugus coffee shop and that her supervisor invaded her privacy by telling co-workers about the assault.
The 29-year-old Everett woman alleges young male co-workers put bananas between their crotches to resemble male genitalia; placed them in cracks of store walls, napkin dispensers and bathrooms as phallic symbols; and inscribed one with an offensive, suggestive remark directed toward her.
The behavior allegedly began when Starbucks started serving fruit smoothies in summer 2008. The woman says managers took no action, and the situation worsened the more she complained, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Boston last week.
“The (male employees) just didn’t cross the line by a little bit – they seemed to jump over the line with both feet,” said John Davis, the woman’s attorney. “There was some pretty hard-core, highly offensive harassment.”
The woman worked at Starbucks from July 2006 to last November, when she quit because she couldn’t tolerate the hostile work environment, according to Davis. The Herald is withholding her name because she is an alleged victim of a sexual assault in spring 2008.
In a statement, Starbucks said its workplace policies strictly prohibit discrimination or harassment.
Read more at Boston Herald