A 58-year-old barista who worked at the Starbucks located at 511 F Street says she was roasted by former managers for being too old for her job.
On Monday, November 18, the barista, Mary McLain, filed suit against the coffee chain in San Diego's federal district court for wrongful termination, age discrimination, harassment, and unlawful retaliation.
McLain alleges that for most of her ten years as an employee she received numerous commendations from several different managers.
That changed in 2011, according to her complaint, when manager Robert Torrey gave McLain her first negative job review. Around the same time, he refused to give the barista a raise and instead chose to promote younger workers ahead of her, despite her job performance.
McLain says her complaints about the unfair treatment fell on deaf ears when she approached the district manager. Left with nowhere to turn to, she took her complaints to the corporate office.
In the following months, work conditions improved — that is, until January 2012, when her manager told her that "she should get her hair done because the gray was showing and it does not look good" and "to slow down while mopping the floor because she might have a heart attack."
On June 15, McLain was "two minutes" late to work due to car problems. Six days later, Torrey fired her.
"Plaintiff was harassed, and subjected to a hostile work environment by the actions, conduct, and comments of Defendant's employees, which actions, conduct, and comments combined to create and allow a pattern of discriminatory and harassing treatment of plaintiff because she was and is over the age of 40 and because she reported unlawful discrimination and harassment."
McLain is suing the coffee chain for lost wages, humiliation, emotional distress, as well as "punitive" and exemplary damages.