Starbucks Discrimination

Dear Bloggary,

A few years ago, I got a great opportunity at a time when I was really turning my life around at 20 years old. It was a new job, where I was given an opportunity to prove myself by the greatest manager who ever lived-Erin. She told me not to steal anything or do anything crazy, to which I agreed, and taught me everything about how to do my job well. I became an excellent employee with job skills and work ethic that would take me to better places in the future. Eventually, even after she left, I made my way up to basically Assistant Manager, and after almost a year and a half, left on my own, remaining friends with Erin and friendly with a couple of the other GM’s I worked under during that time. I had done a very good job-and had witnesses.

More than three years later, I decided I wanted a temporary job during the holiday season at the mall, a short walk from home. I found out Teavana was hiring, and as I had enjoyed working there and loved the product, I applied. I went in and had a brief discussion with the very friendly manager, who asked if my previous managers would vouch for me. “Yes, definitely.” “Okay great, fill out an application online.”  I went home, did so, and about an hour later, she called me.

The gist of the conversation was “You’re hired! When can you start?” I didn’t even have to interview. It was the easiest job acquisition ever. We had a nice, pleasant, excited conversation, and at the end she told me that all we needed next was for me to fill out the form for a background check. Well, I explained, “I can’t pass a background check.” I explained that as a teenager I had gotten myself into drugs and trouble, but had long since turned things around and had a great resume and extensive references to prove it. She seemed understanding and accepting-it had been 6 ½ years, I’d worked there since, and she had just gotten “a rave review” from a previous manager whom she knew personally. We had a longer discussion,  during which she convinced me she would do her best. But she told me that Teavana was a very different place than when I had worked there-in the time I was gone, they’d been acquired by Starbucks and she didn’t know if that would be okay anymore. She told me she’d get back to me in two days after talking to her boss.

I was left in suspense. During that time, I did a little research and found other stories even less fair than mine such as this one http://starbucksunion.org/news/starbucks-barista-discriminated-against-and-fired-prior. Due to this research, I was worried, despite everyone I knew reassuring me it couldn’t possibly be a problem.

When she called me back, it turned out there was nothing she could do. And yes, I believe she tried and am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt based on the conversation we had.

I’m pretty upset, and it’s a loss to myself, the manager and the company. It didn’t make sense for them to not hire me back on this basis, having already worked there before and with an even greater passage of time on my side. This was thoughtless discrimination when an exception should have been made.

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9 thoughts on “Starbucks Discrimination

  1. It is a shame that despite all the positive, face to face engagement, something as impersonal as a piece of paper can disqualify a person from the perfect job and haunt them for many years to come. I commend you for the outright disclosure of said background before she even discovered it in her own.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I absolutely agree with you. It is very tough to get on having something like that to hold you back and I want to be open about it because it’s best to be honest generally and it helps to show others that people can turn things around, hopefully helping others out.

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      • Yes, sadly it often becomes an endless circle as some feel like they have no other choice. The system is so broken. Way to be honest, telling a potential employer about your background can be scary and embarrassing. I believe ones honesty should count for something, and people can change, it’s too bad, Starbucks doesn’t share this belief

        Liked by 1 person

  3. So very sadly true. Yeah, it’s tough, but “honesty is the best policy” and I hope by being honest it’ll help change minds on the topic to see that people can recover and live good lives, despite the setbacks. Thank you for that 🙂

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  4. Speaking as a small businessman, you were right to bring up your past before she found out otherwise. Honesty goes a long way in business, at least in my world. Kudos to the lady for at least being up front with you. For corporations, it’s a crapshoot. Some will work with you and some will blindly follow procedures. You’re better off looking for a smaller company. The longer your record is clean and feedback is good, the less your drug use will be an issue. If someone like you interviewed with me, the main thing I’d want to hear is all the specific things you’re doing to turn things around and, why that’s important to you, and what you’re focusing on achieving in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, yeah I prefer to be honest. I think that’s important for many reasons. I’m actually doing fine now because people like how I work and usually work 2 or 3 jobs at a time. But I was really excited about that temporary position and felt it would be good to write about it for the sake of anyone in a similar position by showing that someone can turn their life around. It did also feel good to get it off my chest.

      Also, I put this blog up partially to make sure to keep myself honest because now it’s on the internet for everyone to see so there’s no going back 😉

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