Starbucks Server Sues over Coffee Shop Racket

December 13, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.COM) - A former Starbucks server with an ear ailment has filed a lawsuit against the coffee chain retailer over allegations the Manhattan shop where she worked was too noisy.

A Reuters news report said Joyce Cohen demanded $4 million in damages in the disability discrimination suit filed in a New York state court.Cohen alleged in the suit that design changes to the coffee shop, like removing the carpeting and draperies and installing “loud, buzzing” ovens produced a racket that was intolerable for her.

“The beeping, along with the loud ventilation system and the buzzing ovens, caused (Cohen) excruciating pain in her ears,” the lawsuit said, according to Reuters.

After complaining to Starbucks management, Cohen was transferred to a different location.

Reuters said Cohen was diagnosed with hyperacusis – a condition that makes people overly sensitive to everyday sounds. Cohen asked that the company turn down the in-store music and put down sound-dampening floor mats as “reasonable accommodations” for her ailment, but the store refused.

Cohen said she was fired when she did not return to work from medical leave.