Feds Sue Starbucks for Firing Dwarf
Elsa Sallard says she was fired after requesting a stool
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2011 9:59 AM CDT
In this photo take Dec. 3, 2010, a Starbucks logo is displayed.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(Newser) – Starbucks is being sued by none other than the US government. Elsa Sallard claims she was fired three days after she was hired in July 2009 as a barista because she is a dwarf. She reportedly asked to be given a stool or small stepladder to enable her to perform her job, but says Starbucks turned down her request and fired her, claiming "she could pose a danger to customers and employees." Now, in a suit filed Monday, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says the coffee giant broke the law by denying a reasonable accommodation to Sallard, reports Reuters.

"We absolutely have a zero-tolerance for discrimination of any kind," countered a Starbucks rep.

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May 18, 2011 11:22 PM CDT
I hope Chelsea Handler hires her.
May 18, 2011 11:22 PM CDT
Wouldn't she have to carry the step stool to every station at counter where she had to work? Like, entering an order into the register & making change and then going to the other side to make the order? Making the order, working the cash register and straightening up the napkin/condiments counter? Can a position be only at one station at Starbucks, like a cashier only, or are they all inclusive on the tasks, i.e., everyone does a little bit of everything? I haven't been to a Starbucks in years and the last time, it was in a book store. There's no way one employee could have dragged a step stool around without it being a safety hazard for other employees. And I think it's sad for her, but it sounds like her height may have been a safety issue, after all. Otherwise, all the counter tops would have had to be lowered in order to accommodate her height safely. "Employers cannot blithely ignore a request for a reasonable accommodation by a qualified individual with a disability," said Joel Clark, a trial attorney for the EEOC. "Starbucks flatly refused to discuss Ms. Sallard's reasonable request. Instead, they assumed the worst and fired her." And providing a step stool or small ladder is not reasonable behind a fast-paced counter with multiple employees working in a narrow aisle between the front and back counters. It would be only a matter of time before another employee tripped as a result.
May 18, 2011 3:00 PM CDT
I think Randy Newman said it best...."short people got no reason to live.."