A former Starbucks barista is suing the coffee chain for $1 million. According to the Toronto Star, 23-year-old Ryerson University student Shannon Mishimagi alleges that she was scheduled to work under a supervisor who "physically assaulted and threatened her," even after she complained to management. Mishimagi says that her supervisor, Gurjaspreet Jolly, "approached her from behind" and "aggressively" touched her. When she reported his behavior, Mishimagi's lawsuit says that Starbucks Canada "failed to act on the report in any manner."
The former barista further alleges that she was "required to work alongside Jolly" and that even when he was transferred to another location, she still faced the possibility of encountering him while at work. Mishimagi claims that it affected her both mentally and physically: "I was so nervous. I couldn't sleep. I was so stressed... All of this when I'm trying to finish fourth year projects — all of that had to be put on hold because I just physically wasn't well."
Mishimagi is now suing the chain, as well as Jolly, for failing to "uphold their duty to make her workplace safe." Starbucks Canada has not commented on the situation to the Toronto Star, and Jolly has been unreachable. Eater has reached out to Starbucks for comment. Mishimagi says that her lawsuit isn't about the money and that she hopes her case will put the spotlight on "the rights of young, precarious workers in low-wage jobs."
Starbucks is facing a lawsuit in the U.S. as well. In June, a customer filed a lawsuit claiming that she was "served a drink that contained a cleaning solution used on coffee and espresso machines." The customer says that the coffee burned and damaged her mouth and esophagus, "causing severe nerve damage," and that she is seeking $2 million in compensation.
UPDATE 9/9/2015: A spokesperson for Starbucks Canada tells Eater:
We are committed to providing a supportive and safe work environment for all of our partners (employees). We take these claims very seriously as they are not consistent with our values and who we are as a company. Starbucks has robust policies and procedures for investigating partner complaints, which we have employed in this matter. While personal matters are confidential, we are prepared to vigorously defend the reputation of our partners and our company in this case.