Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Starbucks employee fired after mocking stuttering customer

A Starbucks location in Richmond B.C Starbucks Fires Employee Who Mocked Customer With Stutter
Priscilla Morrison | 09 July, 2018, 15:53

Starbucks says an employee in Philadelphia has been fired after allegedly mocking a customer with a stutter.

Starbucks has fired an employee accused of mocking a customer's speech impediment, a representative for the company confirmed to INSIDER.

A person on Facebook posted on Sunday (Monday NZ time) that his friend stuttered when giving his name at a branch in Philadelphia, and that the barista made light of it verbally and then spelled the name with extra letters.

In addition, when Sam received his coffee, Lekwijit said he and his friend were shocked to see the name on the cup was written "SSSAM".

Lekwijit wrote, "My friend Sam who is a stutterer stuttered on his name when ordering a coffee at Starbucks".

Lekwijit uploaded a photo of the drink which said "SSSAM".

Starbucks responded to the allegations on Facebook, offering an apology.

"I am writing this not because I want to get anybody into trouble, but because I want to raise awareness among the employees", he added. "It was about how you treat people with speech impairments, not how you write names", he continued.

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"Teasing a person about stuttering, no matter the environment, is wrong and reinforces common misconceptions about people [who] stutter", Gerald Maguire of the National Stuttering Association wrote, according to NBC Philadelphia. "Getting this kind of treatment from people, especially service employees, only scars them-and I beg Starbucks employees to have this in mind", Lekwijit said.

Lekwijit also declined NBC News' requests for interview.

This situation comes just over a month after Starbucks closed 8,000 stores across the country for racial-bias training following the arrest of two black men who were trying to use the restroom in a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, location of the chain.

Starbucks announced on Twitter Thursday that the employee had been sacked.

However, Lekwijit told the Inquirer that he feels Starbucks' recent sensitivity training should have also covered people with speech disabilities, so that no one else like Sam is mocked.

'Our local leadership has reached out to Sam to better understand what took place and the specifics of his experience and apologize directly.

A day later, Starbucks responded in the comments, saying that it has "zero tolerance for discrimination". "We want stores to be a welcoming place to visit".

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