Ella Clark, a college freshman, won a federal hearing against Starbucks, which was found to have illegally retaliated against her for union activities.
Administrative law judges ruled against Starbucks in 34 out of 36 cases, ordering them to cease violations.
Clark’s case revealed instances of surveillance, censorship, and pretextual disciplinary actions. (Trending: Court Hands Down Crucial 2nd Amendment Ruling)
“Starbucks would insist they haven’t broken the law,” Clark said. “But it is getting harder and harder for them to say that, because there are so many rulings like this one, where it is so clear that they have broken the law and continue to.”
An NLRB spokesperson said the agency does not compile employer-specific data on unfair labor practices. But , a former board member who is now a professor at Harvard Law School, said she was stunned by the breadth of the decisions against Starbucks.
“I haven’t done the kind of deep data dive to say it for sure, but I would bet that there is no other company that has amassed this many violations” former board member Sharon Block stated. “It just paints a picture, when you put it all together, of a company that is absolutely willing to violate the law in order to avoid having to deal with this union.”
“I would bet that there is no other company that has amassed this many violations.”
“They did appreciate me as a worker, until the union petition,” Clark pressed.
Although there are no significant financial penalties, the judge ordered Starbucks to pay Clark the extra money she would have earned with a promotion.
Clark quit her job due to stress and is now involved in persuading Georgetown University to drop its contract with Starbucks.
“I knew any little mistake that I made, they would point to that as a reason to fire me,” Clark added. “Ultimately, that stress became too much on my mental health.”
Starbucks has until early December to challenge the decision, and Clark hopes to see the company held accountable.
“Of course, a couple hundred dollars would be great,” Clark stated. “But to see Starbucks held accountable for the way they treated me and workers like myself is worth more.”
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