Starbucks Settles Statutory-Rape Case

Why does your latte cost so much? Paying out large settlements cannot help the bottom line.

It looks like Starbucks took advantage of the long holiday weekend to quietly settle a lawsuit against them.

Last week, Starbucks settled a high-profile lawsuit involving the statutory rape of one of its teenage baristas by her shift supervisor.  Brian Ross reported on this case for both Good Morning America and 20/20.

Back in January, Siouxsie blogged this case.  The former barista claimed that over a period of months her 24-year-old shift-supervisor, Tim Horton, made daily demands on her for sex and that she felt pressured to agree.  And when the girl’s mother found out and complained to Starbucks, the company failed to take any action against the older employee or even investigate.  So, the former barista filed a lawsuit against the coffee chain for sexual harassment.

The interesting thing about the case was how the two sides handled it.  The young woman’s team felt that they had to  structure the lawsuit as a have-sex-with-me-or-be-fired situation.  And, in Siouxsie’s opinion, it just didn’t work.  She “dated” the guy for months, even after she left Starbucks.

The Starbucks team felt the need to slut shame the young woman, not just in court but in the media.   Starbucks argued that even though the older employee’s advances were illegal and constituted statutory rape, the teenager (and her parents) had no right complain because she had willingly participated in the relationship.

The terms of the settlement are confidential.  One cannot know for certain what happened here.  Trial was set for the middle of June.  Maybe Starbucks surrendered a significant sum to silence its ex-employee and avoid a lengthy and embarrassing trial.

Photo Credit:  AK37


~ by siouxsielaw on June 3, 2010.

One Response to “Starbucks Settles Statutory-Rape Case”

  1. Do you think that Starbucks’ payout was grande or venti?

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