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Christian Barista Sues Starbucks After Claiming She Was Fired For Refusing To Wear Rainbow Shirt

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A former barista from Hoboken, New Jersey, is filing a lawsuit against Starbucks after claiming her refusal to wear a rainbow Pride T-shirt led to her dismissal.

Betsy Fresse worked at a Starbucks location in Glen Ridge. She claimed her manager reported her to Starbucks ethics and compliance helpline after she refused to wear a rainbow t-shirt as part of her uniform for Pride month last year.

Fresse claims the establishment knew of her religious beliefs in advance. She asserts she was specifically targeted “because her religious beliefs prevented her” from wearing the shirt.

She also alleges shortly thereafter, Starbucks contacted her to say “her comportment was not in compliance with Starbucks’ core values” and fired her.

Fresse goes on to claim she “holds no enmity toward individuals who ascribe to the LGBTQ lifestyle.”

In nearly the same sentence, she rejects the idea of gay marriage and sex between consenting homosexual adults.

According to NBC News, Fresse harassed coworkers who opted to wear the rainbow t-shirt. She told fellow employees they “need Jesus” in concert with her own direct refusal to wear the rainbow shirt that was an optional part of all employees’ uniforms across the company.

Starbucks said Fresse’s claim—which left out her repeated attempts to force her religion on coworkers—is inaccurate.

“Starbucks does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation…”

“No part of our dress code requires partners to wear any approved items [other than the green apron] that they have not personally selected.”


Fresse’s lawsuit is “seeking compensation for emotional pain and suffering, punitive damages and back pay with interest.”

Mike Walsh

Written by Mike Walsh

Mike is a writer, dancer, actor, and singer who recently graduated with his MFA from Columbia University. Mike's daily ambitions are to meet new dogs and make new puns on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikerowavables.