Suing: Former Starbucks Workers Say They Were Fired for Being Gay

Joseph Hooks and Dorothy Baker, two former employees, are suing Starbucks, saying they were fired over their sexuality. The lawsuit targets Starbucks’ director of compliance and equal opportunity, Craig Sawyer.

CupThe Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports:

“Hooks reported to Sawyer from January 2007 until May 2007. According to court documents, Sawyer made anti-gay remarks and references to Hooks during this time and repeatedly pressured him to apply for positions elsewhere in the company. In April of that year, Sawyer told Hooks that he could not go to lunch with him and another employee because ‘just the boys are going to lunch,’ according to the suit. The suit also claims that Sawyer phoned Hooks sometime in May 2007 and pressured him to resign by the end of the day. Although Hooks did not resign, Sawyer sent out an e-mail stating that he had.”

“Baker worked for Starbucks from August 2007 until February of this year. Baker told Sawyer she was gay when they met to discuss diversity and Equal Employment Opportunity categories. Following Baker’s disclosure, the suit alleges, Sawyer began to isolate her, skipping their scheduled one-on-one meetings, changing her deadlines and complaining to human resources that she was not completing her work. According to the court filing, Sawyer also made comments to Baker about gay men. He had worked with HIV/AIDS-affected gay men as part of an internship after graduate school and told her a ‘funny’ story about how he once threw one of the men ‘through the wall’ while wrestling with him.”

More at the SeattlePI

You may remember this cup from the Armistead Maupin cup controversy back in 2005…


  1. soulbrotha says

    Hopefully they won’t drag this case out. If Starbucks is smart, they will fire the asshole, settle out of court and issue a public apology quicker than a yellow-bellied Heinz PR rep!

  2. pekemo says

    I personally think this is a bad apple situation. i used to work for starbucks and my store had plenty of gays and lesbians working there, and the ceo of the company is very pro-gay, ever since one of his employees told him that he had AIDS and died subsquently soon after. So I do believe that this is an isolated incident, Starbucks even showed up at Baltimore Pride a couple of years ago.

  3. Pope Buck I says

    How does a jerkwad like that somehow get to be director of “Compliance and Equal Opportunity,” of all things? Isn’t it a bare minimum that the person in charge of enforcing diversity NOT be a bigoted asshat?

  4. Chas says

    EVAN, sorry to break your heart, but most homophobes are homophobes because they’re struggling against their own nature. No wholly straight man is so upset by homosexuality that it makes him want to beat, murder, or harass someone he hardly even knows. Period. We aren’t threats to them. We ARE threats to to the guys who feel they have to annihilate us to keep from fucking us.

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