Starbucks workers file lawsuit after manager makes false police report
Anderson, South Carolina – Starbucks workers in Anderson, South Carolina, are fighting back with a new lawsuit after a false police report accused them of kidnapping and assault, according to Starbucks Workers United.
The union announced on Monday that eight workers had filed a defamation lawsuit accusing the coffee company of lying in a police report.
It all began after workers at the unionized 3556 Clemson Blvd location approached their store manager in August asking for higher wages. Two days later, the manager filed a police report accusing the workers of kidnapping and assault.
The police found the allegations to be untrue. Video footage, which has gone viral on social media, also shows no signs of workers engaging in threatening behavior or physical contact.
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Despite the results of the police investigation, Starbucks and the store manager have yet to apologize for or retract their claims. Instead, the company responded by firing several of the workers.
The incident sparked renewed protests against Starbucks’ union busting amid the growing organizing wave at the company.
The defamation case is the first lawsuit to be filed out of Starbucks Workers United since their movement began last year.
Starbucks workers speak out on new lawsuit
Starbucks workers in Anderson have slammed the company over its treatment of employees.
“Starbucks knew exactly what they were doing when it smeared our reputation, painting us as criminals,” Aneil Tripathi, one of the fired workers, said in a Starbucks Workers United press release.
“It’s more apparent now than ever that Starbucks will go to any length to smear workers, even going as far as lying to the police and accusing us of crimes we did not commit,” he continued.
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“They abused the law enforcement process to intimidate us and keep us terrified that a knock on the door would be the Anderson police coming to take us away. This case is about more than defamation; it’s about highlighting the disgusting, outright abuse Starbucks will level at their own workers.”
Natalie Mann, another worker from the Anderson store, added, “This looming threat over our heads personally caused me so much anguish that I received extensive therapy and dealt with numerous breakdowns, desperate to find a way out, desperate to find stability. There are no words to describe what it feels like when a multibillion dollar company attempts to muzzle your voice and break your spirit.”
“Despite putting years of labor into this company, I have nothing but pennies to show for it, eventually having to borrow money from family. Others were not so lucky.”
Workers are now seeking a defamation charge against Starbucks, an injunction against additional allegations of illegal behavior, as well as damages.
Cover photo: Screenshot/Twitter/SBWorkersUnited