A woman in New Jersey has filed a lawsuit against Starbucks for wrongful termination after she refused to wear an official company Pride T-shirt that she says violated her beliefs.
According to NBC News, Betsy Fresse first contacted Starbucks’ ethics and compliance helpline asking to be exempt from wearing the Pride shirt.
Then, in June 2019, she had asked her manager if she would be required to wear the shirt. He told her she would not.
She was later fired from the Glen Ridge, New Jersey store, The Christian Post reports.
However, NBC News reported that Starbucks did not require her to wear the shirt, and a Starbucks spokesperson told NBC News that her claims are “without merit.”
“Starbucks does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation,” the spokesperson said in an email.
Fresse told the ethics and compliance representative that she could not wear the shirt “because her religious beliefs prevented her from doing so.”
On Aug. 22, 2019, Fresse was told she was being fired because her “comportment was not in compliance with Starbucks’ core values.” According to Reuters, her termination notice cited Fresse for saying she did not want to wear the shirt and saying that her co-workers “needed Jesus.”
In her lawsuit, Fresse said “all people need Jesus” and Christians are called “to express in word and deeds Christ’s love for everyone.”
She said her co-workers knew she was a Christian, but she did not talk about her beliefs on sexuality unless someone made a “specific inquiry.”
According to filings, Fresse believes “that God created man and woman, that marriage is defined in the Bible as between one man and one woman only, and that any sexual activity which takes place outside of this context is contrary to her understanding of Biblical teaching.”
In her lawsuit, Fresse is seeking back pay with interest, plus compensation for emotional pain and suffering, and punitive damages.
Photo courtesy: Szymon12455/Unsplash
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.