A Muslim Family Is Suing Starbucks For $6 Million Over Alleged Discrimination

Starbucks is no stranger to facing lawsuits, and now the global coffee chain has been hit with another serious accusation. A Muslim family is suing the chain over an alleged incident of discrimination involving handicapped seating at a Starbucks store in Midvale, Utah. According to a press release from Pace Johnson Law Group, the firm representing the plaintiffs, the family claims they were forcibly ejected by police from the store, and that they were unjustly targeted because of their Middle Eastern ethnicity and Muslim faith. The family, which includes Mr. Hossein Kaveh, his wife Faranak Sedarat, and her mother Banou Afsar Sedarat, claims they were using a handicapped table while displaying a valid handicapped placard for the disabled mother. They then say that another customer in a wheelchair claimed they had no right to be using the handicapped table.

Mr. Hossein Kaveh claims they attempted to resolve the situation amicably, but it escalated and Starbucks management called law enforcement, while allegedly misrepresenting the behavior of the family. This led to their removal, and an indefinite ban. Mr. Kaveh, who is an Iranian immigrant, says that "In my 45 years in this country, I've never had any issue with the law or police," adding "What happened to us, I hope nobody has to go through." The family is seeking $6 million or more in damages, a public apology from Starbucks, the right to return to the store, and a promise to fight discrimination on a larger scale.

This is not the first time Starbucks has been accused of discrimination

Starbucks has dealt with several lawsuits around racial discrimination in recent years. The company was ordered to pay $25 million to a former manager last year who claimed they were illegally fired over a racist incident that occurred at their store. However, Starbucks did manage to score a win when a judge dismissed a lawsuit claiming its DEI program was a form of racial discrimination against white employees.

Tasting Table reached out to Starbucks for comment. In response, the company stated: "As stated in our Third Place policy, "a safe and welcoming public space is a shared community responsibility." Consistent with Our Mission and Values, we expect everyone in our stores to treat others with respect and dignity, free of bias and discrimination. Our expectation is that all of our partners and our customers also uphold these values. We firmly believe these claims to be without merit. We take pride in creating a warm and welcoming Third Place environment — it's core to who we are as a company."