Imagine risking your life to save customers and your fellow employees from a robbery and things go left because it. According to a lawsuit filed by a former Starbucks barista, this is precisely what happened to him.
In December, one of the busiest seasons for Starbucks because of holiday drinks, 20-year-old Michael Harris told KSDK he was working the drive-thru at the store’s Midtown St. Louis location. Suddenly, he noticed a white man and a Black man enter the store and begin frisking the customers.
The men approached the cash register and ordered him to open it. While Harris struggled with the register, one of the men hit him on the head with a gun.
Harris said he realized the gun was fake after the trigger fell off. At that moment, he decided it was time to get his lick back. Without knowing if there was another real gun in the mix but determined to keep everyone safe, he said that he and the other employees began to fight back.
They were able to restrain at least one of the alleged robbers until the cops showed up. However, after the incident, Harris was fired.
Read more from KSDK:
Weeks after the situation, Harris said he got a call.
“They terminated me,” he said. “They didn’t really give me a reason why I was terminated. They just told me I was, and I just had to accept it.”
Harris said he loved his job.
“I was hurt, especially because I tried to do my best for everybody else. I tried to be the best person I could to help everybody,” he said.
He and his attorneys want to know what policy he violated.
“They didn’t create the dangerous scenario. They just did what they were supposed to do in that scenario. It happens fast…There’s no way that an individual can be faced with danger, attempted potential death of themselves or another, and then once they’ve been hit or downed, that they cannot defend themselves,” Attorney Ryan Krupp said.
In response to the suit, Starbucks released a statement saying all partners are expected to follow their safety protocols, which include de-escalation, complying with demands and basically avoiding pissing off the culprit in question, the report says.
However, Harris’ suit alleges he was wrongfully terminated after doing what any other person would do in that situation.
“It’s a fundamental principal of the law of this nation and the law of this state that when faced with a life-or-death scenario, you are afforded the ability to defend yourself,” said Harris’ attorney, Robert Thomas Topping, via KSDK.