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New York woman files sexual harassment suit against Starbucks

The basic rights of employees in the workplace include compensation, wages and pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and protection from retaliation for exercising those rights. Employees deserve a workplace that is free from a sexually hostile environment or the derogatory comments of co-workers and supervisors under applicable employment law. Unfortunately, employees' rights are sometimes violated all over the U.S., including in White Plains, New York.

A New York employee who was working at Starbucks allegedly experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. According to a report, a 23-year-old barista has filed a lawsuit against her former employer, alleging that she was sexually harassed by her supervisor in Union Square, New York, which is approximately 32 miles from White Plains, New York. She reported the incidents to the store manager, but she claims that the manager never addressed the workplace issue.

The lawsuit states that the supervisor used sexually demeaning language when addressing the employee. The victim also claims that her supervisor allegedly cornered her on the stairwell twice and kissed her on the neck. The alleged workplace harassment only stopped after the victim screamed. After that experience, the woman decided to tape her encounters with the supervisor. She played the audio for her manager and the store manager allegedly yelled at her for recording a co-employee.

A spokesman for Starbucks asserted that the company does not tolerate workplace harassment. The company also stated that it will not discuss the case because it is in the middle of litigation.

Employers must promptly address any workplace issue. Whether the issue is unpaid overtime, workplace safety or worker's benefits, it is the responsibility of the employer to resolve the matter in accordance with company policy. When it comes to sexual harassment, employers must protect the employee from the hostile or offensive conduct of any other worker. Failure to protect the victim may result in long-term legal challenges.

Source: Gothamist, "Union Square Starbucks Barista Accuses Supervisor of Relentless Sexual Harassment," Mar. 4, 2014

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