Starbucks manager claims he was fired because of tattoos

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Feb. 3, 2010, 3:12pm

SHERMAN -- Starbucks shift-manager Benjamin Amos claims the district managers did not like his tattoos and terminated him when he refused to resign.

Alleging violations of Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Amos filed a discrimination lawsuit against Starbucks Corp. on Feb. 2 in the Sherman Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

Amos worked at the Starbucks in Sherman for more than seven years and states he had tattoos when he was initially hired. He claims that he followed the corporate dress code policy and kept his tattoos covered while he was at work.

However, in February 2009 the store manager told the plaintiff that he was going to be let go because the regional and district managers did not like the tattoos. The store manager asked Amos to resign but Amos refused.

A few days later, the manager fired Amos. The store manager said that the district and regional managers had given her the authority to fire him.

Less than two weeks later, the district manager called Amos apologizing, stating that Amos' termination was handled the wrong way.

Amos states that he is not the only employee at the Sherman location that has tattoos. According to the lawsuit, female employees also have tattoos but they were not discharged.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for mental anguish, attorney's fees, costs of court, prejudgment and post- judgment interest and punitive damages.

Sherman attorney Ronald R. Huff is representing the plaintiff.

U.S. District Judge Richard A. Schell has referred the litigation to Magistrate Judge Don D. Bush.

Jury trial requested.

Case No 4:10cv00045

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