A New York City agency overseeing workplace affairs said on Friday it sued Starbucks because the coffee chain illegally fired a longtime barista and union organizer shortly after employees in his store voted to join a union.
New York’s fair workweek law prohibits fast-food employers from firing or laying off workers, or reducing their hours by more than 15%, without just cause or legitimate economic reasons.
The lawsuit seeks Locke’s reinstatement and back pay, as well as civil penalties.
A Starbucks spokeswoman said the Seattle-based company does not discuss pending litigation, but plans to defend against claims it violated the law.
In a statement provided by the city, Locke said: “Starbucks continues to wrongfully fire pro-union workers nationwide in retaliation for union organizing.”.
He called on Starbucks to negotiate a contract with Starbucks Workers United, which represents employees at more than 200 stores.
Last month, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc agreed to pay $20m to about 13,000 workers to settle city claims it violated the fair workweek law. »