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.
Betsy Fresse, who is a Christian from Newark, New Jersey, worked as a barista in Hoboken in 2018, and states in her lawsuit that the managers knew of her religious beliefs, as she requested Sundays and certain evenings off to attend church https://t.co/r05L563bEE
— ✞he Beginning of Sorrows (@BillyNightTrain) November 27, 2020
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.
In the actual article it also states that she told her other coworkers that they “need Jesus” for complying with wearing the shirts. This clearly isn’t a violation of her own religious rights but an unnecessary homophobic comment towards her coworkers that she used religion for
— samuel #EYESWIDEOPEN (@SocdemStan) November 25, 2020
Or instead of suing Starbs, just quit and go work for Chic Fil A or Hobby Lobby or someone less tolerant of Pride Month 😅🥸🙄
— Emily Hetland (@e1rlindsay) November 25, 2020
In all seriousness, this is an interesting First Amendment issue. There is a difference between inclusion and expression. Should there be a line that companies cannot cross regarding the messages they want you to express as their employee? Political, moral, personal messages?
— AK (@Revivalist_1925) November 25, 2020
If that's the real reason, and not just a dramatic overreaction to a shirt, then go for it. Though really, these days, it's getting harder to claim "bigotry" as a tenet of religious belief….
— Kitt Shattuck Piel (@PielKitt) November 25, 2020
"Judge not lest ye be judged" — I'm not Christian but wasn't love and turning the other cheek a thing of their guy?
— scintillaa (@LoriScintillaa) November 25, 2020
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.
A uniform policy as long as employer provided is not illegal. Sorry bout it
— 🏳️🌈freedom of peach 🍑 (@demwitted) November 25, 2020
Assuming that the woman was made aware of the corporate stance on this issue she shouldn't have been working for the company.
— Gary A. Kabler (@gary_kabler) November 25, 2020
If an employer can withhold coverage of birth control medication from employees for "sincerely held religious freedom" reasons, then an employer can require an employee to wear a rainbow shirt.
— kendallwilcox (@kendallwilcox) November 25, 2020
She has to prove that her termination was related to her not wanting to wear the t-shirt. Which will be hard to do
— Gilbert Guillaume (@Beardmanyogi) November 26, 2020
Think what got her fired is her statement that her co-workers “need Jesus” when she was handed the shirt that was not required to wear.
— Joe (@pumpkindropoff) November 25, 2020
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.”
Lmao how does a corporate pride shirt go against beliefs…you’re representing Starbucks not your religion tolerance lol
— Alexander S (@alexfirth21) November 25, 2020
Glad they terminated her. They knew she was trouble.
— StevenSantarpia (@StevenSantarpia) November 25, 2020
Chick fil a might be hiring. They have a lot of religious beliefs
— E (@irishindel) November 25, 2020
I'm sure the Bible doesn't say "Thou shall not wear a Pride shirt in Starbucks".
— Mad World (@MadddWWWorld) November 25, 2020
I bet she wasn’t popular with her co-workers
— Lisa Padovani (@lisapadovani1) November 25, 2020
Fresse’s lawsuit is “seeking compensation for emotional pain and suffering, punitive damages and back pay with interest.”