Starbucks Fires Employee on Food Stamps for Eating a Sandwich from the Garbage
Posted by Anna Minard on Tue, Aug 27, 2013 at 1:33 PM
Good Jobs Seattle
Last Monday, 21-year-old barista Coulson Loptmann says he was fired from a downtown Seattle Starbucks where he’d worked for more than a year. The reason? He ate a sandwich that had been thrown away. Really. Like most cafes, the coffee giant gets rid of food that has expired; they donate what they can and toss the more perishable items.
Loptmann, who says he couldn’t get enough hours to pay his bills and survives partly on his food stamps, explains, “I hadn’t eaten all day and I was on a seven-hour shift.” A coworker had just marked some breakfast sandwiches out of stock, and he figured no one would mind if he grabbed one of the plastic-wrapped sausage sandwiches out of the trash can.
But Starbucks did mind. According to Loptmann, his manager sat him down a week later and told him she’d found out about the sandwich and contacted HR, “and they consider it stealing, and it’s against policy. So I’m sorry, but I have to terminate you.” She fired him on the spot.
The incident comes up just as fast-food workers prepare for another strike this Thursday—and this time, they're asking baristas to join them. Seattle's fast-food walkouts this spring were extraordinarily successful, shutting down multiple restaurants, and this week, organizers for Good Jobs Seattle are encouraging low-wage workers in coffee