Friday, December 6, 2013

Let's Sue Starbucks

Last week I was walking by the Beverly Hills Courthouse and I thought there has to be something I can do in there. Why not file bankruptcy for example. But when I went in and asked the security guard if I could do that he said I was in the wrong place. Federal Court downtown was where I should go. So I asked, what could I do there in the Beverly Hills Courthouse? You can sue somebody. Good! I've got a paper Starbucks coffee cup in my hand to remind me that when I returned to the U.S. three months ago I asked Starbucks for a job. I applied online and they had answered online that they had no job for me, either in the U.S. or out of the U.S. A week later I was sitting next to the company's regional manager at one of the Westwood cafes and told him the story. Surprised, he asked to see the emails. He said he would check it out. Another week passed, and again by chance I met the manager at the same cafe. Yes, he had checked. My application had been received by the main office, but never sent to any of the cafes. Why? He didn't know. Anything to do with the fact that there doesn't seem to be anyone over thirty-five working at any Starbucks in West L.A.? He couldn't say. So standing in the lobby, about to pass through security, I realize what are the magic words, the reason for entrance to the Beverly Hills Courthouse: Age Discrimination! I'll sue Starbucks for Age Discrimination!

The clerk hands me the papers, not too many of them. Some of the questions are pretty technical, involve terms with uncertain meaning. I do my best, present the papers back to the clerk.

- You haven't filled them out completely
- I have done the best I can. Help me with it.
- No, I don't have time.
- It'll just take a minute.
- I said no.
- Then I'll file them the way as they are.
- Then pay now 325 dollars.
- You'll find fee waiver papers there. Also incompletely filled out.
- When the judge rejects the suit you'll be sorry.
- Fine, no problem. That's the advantage of suing a company for not considering you for a job. As long as they don't give you a job you stay unemployed and can sue again for free.
- Come back on Monday. If we take the papers from you it'll take us a few minutes to record it as filed and it's time now for us to go home.
- Is that gesture, your arm extended and finger ponting, what I think it is, what's known as showing me the door? Wait a second, I have to change my glasses to see. Yes, that's the door over there.
- You're funny.
- What's your name? I'll ask for you next time. You can help me fill out the papers.
- See you on Monday.

P.S. On the 18th of April, 2011 the lawsuit Miller vs. Starbucks Corp. was filed in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills Branch.

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