Starbucks to Pay $75,000 to Fired Woman with Dwarfism


An El Paso woman was denied a barista job at Starbucks, but she will be getting paid anyway.

The Seattle-based coffee company will pay the woman with dwarfism $75,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Elsa Sallard, reportedly asked for a stool or stepladder to help perform “essential functions” at the counter while she was training, but was denied the stool and fired, according to the EEOC.

In the lawsuit filed by the EEOC earlier this year, the government said Sallard was only allowed to train for three days before she was fired. She was hired to work in a customer service position in July 2009. Starbucks claimed “she could pose a danger to customers and employees,” the EEOC said.

Along with the $75,000 to be paid to Sallard, the company also agreed to provide additional training for other stores in the El Paso area, which “sends the right signal from the corporate office,” said Robert A. Canino, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Dallas District office.

After the two sides agreed to the settlement, Canino said in a statement: “The Starbucks customer environment is one that is often considered comfortable and progressive. By fostering that same environment for people behind the counter, Starbucks reinforces a positive public image.”