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Deaf Customers Sue Starbucks Over Mocking

Deaf News: Starbucks employees allegedly laughed at speech of hearing impaired customers in New York City.


NEW YORK CITY -- Twelve Deaf Starbucks customers in New York City have filed a lawsuit against the Seattle-based coffee company, claiming discrimination. Starbucks employees allegedly mocked the customers multiple times over the course of several years, and once called the police on a monthly meeting of Deaf people.

"Cruel Employees" at two different Manhattan Starbucks mocked Deaf customers and refused to serve them, a stunning new lawsuit says.

"They were ridiculed, laughed at and told they had to leave Starbucks," said lawyer Eric Baum, who's suing on behalf of a dozen Deaf customers.

Jamie Riley, a spokeswoman for the mega-popular coffee chain, said they were aware of the allegations and were investigating them. "Discrimination of any kind is unacceptable at Starbucks," she said.

The suit says one incident took place at a Starbucks at 424 Park Ave. South in August 2012, when customer Alan Roth said a barista laughed when he placed his order, telling him he "sounded funny."

She "asked him to continually repeat himself as she laughed harder each time," and she was soon laughing "hysterically," the suit says.

When Roth demanded to speak to a manager, the employee started screaming obscenities at him and had to be restrained by other Starbucks staff, the suit says. Another employee told Roth to leave and never come back, the suit says.

Roth said he had "never before been so blatantly and maliciously been discriminated against."

The suit says Deaf customers also were forced to leave and had the cops called on them another time at the 13-25 Astor Place location, which had been chosen as the monthly gathering spot for an informal "Deaf Chat Coffee" social group...

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