Starbucks worker fired after she reported being raped by supervisor who kept his job even after pleading guilty
Starbucks (Shutterstock)

A Starbucks shift supervisor who admitted to sexually assaulting a female barista last year was allowed by the company to retain his position, even as the company fired the 18-year-old victim.

According to Motherboard at Vice.com, the company transferred the supervisor to another location in Richmond, VA, after he pleaded guilty to the crime and kept him employed for another five months.

Motherboard identifies the victim by the pseudonym "Claire" and reports that on Nov. 2 of last year she told her Ashland, VA, store manager that the supervisor had sexually assaulted her the previous day at his house. It writes, "Claire also contacted the Henrico County Police Department to report the assault. Court records show that the state of Virginia charged the worker who assaulted her with 'object sexual penetration by force.'

"In the following days, Claire said she saw the man who assaulted her working at Starbucks" and skipped work to cope with anxiety and depression. Starbucks denies that the man who assaulted her worked at the store in the two weeks after she reported the assault."

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Then, just nine days after she reported the assault, on Nov. 11, Starbucks fired Claire for irregular attendance. The man who assaulted her was allowed to remain with the company. He ultimately was fired on April 14 of this year, five weeks after his guilty plea and after a Virginia court ordered him to register as a sex offender with the state police.

Workers at the store where the two worked told Motherboard "management was more interested in distributing anti-union propaganda and protecting the man who assaulted Claire than keeping them safe. Thirteen workers there sent a letter to Starbucks corporate on April 22 demanding an 'official explanation, as well as an acknowledgement of wrongdoing from members of corporate whose job it is to maintain our safety.'

"While management never told us of these criminal sexual assault charges, the partners in our store felt increasingly uncomfortable working with him on the floor. He made repeated sexual comments and jokes to partners, while frequently reminding partners of his authority over others,' they wrote in the letter, obtained by Motherboard. "Across the country, partners associated with union organization are being wrongfully terminated without prior written notice for minor infractions such as dress code offenses and 'safety violations,' but an individual who had been arrested and indicted for felony sexual assault was allowed to remain employed for four months before termination. Clearly Starbucks is more interested in national union busting than protecting its partners from sexual assault."

Since December, more than 50 U.S. Starbucks locations have voted to unionize. Almost another 250 locations have filed for union elections with the National Labor Relations Board.

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