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NYC sues Starbucks over ‘wrongful termination’ of employee at unionized store

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Latest York City is suing Starbucks over the “wrongful termination” of a barista who worked at an Astoria store that had just voted to unionize, the Department of Consumer and Employee Protection said Friday.

Austin Locke, who had worked for Starbucks for the past six years, was canned on July 5 — a month after employees at the shop voted in favor of a union. 

Locke filed a criticism with DCWP, which found that Starbucks retaliated against him for his organizing activities.

Starbucks claimed it fired him for failing to finish a COVID-19 questionnaire and for falsely reporting that a supervisor “placed his hand” on Locke’s chest to stop him from entering a room, in accordance with the criticism, which was filed on Thursday with the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings.

People demanded Locke’s reinstatement in a July 22 rally outside the Ditmars Boulevard Starbucks.Luigi Morris

People picketing Starbucks at a rally.About 235 Starbucks stores have been unionized over the past yr.AFP via Getty Images

“DCWP stands able to fight for the dignity and respect that each one employees deserve from their employers,” DCWP Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga said in an announcement. “To all Latest York City fast food employees, should you imagine you could have been illegally fired out of your workplace, don’t hesitate to contact us.”

The agency is asking on Starbucks to provide Locke his job back, give him back pay and other compensation for lost work. And it’s ordering the java giant to pay civil penalties for violating the town’s fair workweek law.

Starbucks said in an announcement, “We don’t comment on pending litigation. Nevertheless, we do intend to defend against the alleged violations of the Latest York City Just Cause Law.”

A demonstrator holds flyers while protesting .Latest York City is asking Starbucks to rehire the fired barista and pay him back wages.Bloomberg via Getty Images

The criticism represents the town’s first legal motion under the July 2021 Just Cause law, which prevents fast food restaurants from firing employees without “just cause.”

Over the past yr, 235 Starbucks stores have been unionized.

The corporate has been fighting the drive and recently accused the National Labor Relations Board of improperly siding with the union.

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