ANDERSON, S.C. (WSPA) – Upstate baristas filed a defamation lawsuit against Starbucks, stating the company falsely accused them of assaulting and kidnapping a store manager.
According to the lawsuit, on Aug. 3, a Starbucks manager, who worked at Starbucks located on Clemson Boulevard in Anderson, falsely reported to the police that the plaintiff workers had assaulted and kidnapped the manager two days earlier.
Following the police report, Starbucks issued a nationwide statement stating the eight plaintiffs engaged in criminal activity and were suspended from work.
At the request of the store manager, police sought a warrant for the arrest of one or more of the plaintiffs. The magistrate judge denied the warrant based on insufficient evidence.
On Sept. 15, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the accusation was a lie, the lawsuit said.
This comes after the store workers voted unanimously to unionize the business in June.
Lawyers representing the plaintiffs said neither Starbucks nor the store manager have retracted their false allegations.
One of the former employees, Aneil Tripathi said it’s been a long journey up to this point. He said he hopes this lawsuit will change the culture of Starbucks.
“Bring them back to reality because they definitely lost reality, thinking they’re above the law, breaking the law left and right, so this one’s going to really hit them hard hopefully,” Tripathi said.
Below you can read the full lawsuit: