A New Jersey woman is suing Starbucks, saying she was fired for refusing to wear a "Pride" T-shirt that violated her religious beliefs.
Betsy Fresse says in the lawsuit that her Christian faith teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman. She began working for Starbucks in 2015, and managers "assured" her that her faith would not be an issue when she transferred to a Glen Ridge store last year, the New York Post reported on Thursday.
But some months later during a managers meeting, she said she noticed a box of Starbucks Pride shirts and asked if she'd be required to wear one, which she felt was "tantamount to forced speech."
She was told that she would not have to wear the shirt at work. Then in August, a district manager told her she had been terminated, according to the lawsuit.
"Mrs. Fresse hold[s] the personal religious belief that all people need Jesus," according to the lawsuit. "Mrs. Fresse believes that every Christian is called to love and treat everyone with respect and compassion, irrespective of their religious or other beliefs."
Starbucks said in a notice of separating cited in the filing, that Fresse was let go for violating the company's "core values" and that she said her colleagues "need Jesus" when she was given the T-shirt.
"We enforce these values when we embrace inclusion and diversity, and welcome and learn from people with different backgrounds and perspectives," according to the termination notice.
A Starbucks spokesman called the allegations in the lawsuite baseless.
"We are very aware of the claims by Mrs. Fresse, which are without merit and we are fully prepared to present our case in court,” the spokesman told the Post. “Specific to our dress code, other than our green apron, no part of our dress code requires partners to wear any approved items that they have not personally selected."
© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.