September 22nd, 2009 5:33 pm | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Cops and Courts, CLEAN UP

JUICY SUITS: Fired from Seattle's Best Coffee for HIV? (With Updates from Attorney and Corporate HQ)


A man is claiming he was fired as manager at a downtown Seattle's Best Coffee because he has HIV.

WW has agreed to a request from the man's lawyer not to identify the plaintiff by name, in order to protect his medical privacy.

According to the lawsuit filed Sept. 21 in Multnomah County Circuit Court, the man worked for the company from September 2000 to Feb. 24, 2008. He was a manager at Seattle's Best in the Standard Plaza Building in downtown Portland at Portland State University, according to his lawyer, Benjamin Rosenthal

The 41-year-old man from North Portland is HIV-positive and treats his disease with various medications, the lawsuit says. On Jan. 17 this year, he asked his supervisor, Cesar Honores, to demote him to a barista position due to stress on the job that threatened to complicate his illness, the lawsuit says.

Rosenthal said the man intended to transfer to the Seattle's Best store in the Standard Plaza Building downtown. Honores also was in charge of that store, Rosenthal says.

But on Feb. 24, the lawsuit says Honores told the man he could not work at any store that Honores managed.

"No one at Standard would be comfortable working with you," Honores said, according to the lawsuit.

The suit seeks unspecified damages and back pay for alleged disability discrimination. Rosenthal has not yet returned a call seeking further information on his client and the case.

Media requests for Seattle's Best are routed to Starbucks, which owns the chain. Starbucks headquarters in Seattle has not yet responded to an email seeking comment.

Starbucks spokeswoman Stacey Krum had this to say by email:

"We have not seen the lawsuit and do not have additional information regarding it at this time. However, I can tell you that our workplace policies provide for equal employment opportunities and strictly prohibit discrimination or harassment on the basis of physical disability. We believe our track record for supporting hiring people with disabilities speaks for itself."
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