The Minnesota Court of Appeals has
reinstated a transgender man's discrimination complaint against
Plaintiff Paul Bray, 43, alleges in his
lawsuit that employees at two Starbucks locations discriminated
against him because of his gender identity, the Star
A district court earlier this year
dismissed Bray's complaint, saying that he had failed to prove that
employees had discriminated against him based on his transgender
A three-judge panel of the appeals
court disagreed. Judge Michelle Larkin wrote that “there is a
genuine issue of material fact regarding whether Starbucks
discriminated against Bray because he was transgender.”
A Starbucks representative called the
ruling “disappointing” and said that the coffee giant was
considering its options.
Bray alleges that service at an Eden
Prairie Starbucks declined after he began to transition in September
2012. He legally changed his name to Paul Allen Bray in March 2013
and informed an employee, Adam Voth, that he was transitioning from
female to male.
When Bray complained to a shift manager
about bad service, he was informed that the employee was
uncomfortable because Bray was not “a real man.” Bray stopped
patronizing the Eden Prairie location after another employee appeared
disgusted when handing Bray his drink, according to the ruling.
Bray claims that at a Starbucks shop in
Edina two employees abruptly left the counter after serving him.
Bray said that as he sat in the shop he overheard a female employee
telling another, “I want to have sex with him” after glaring at
his body. (Bray believes an employee from the Eden Prairie location
informed Edina employees about his status.)
Bray filed his lawsuit in July, 2014
after a manager in the Edina store dismissed his complaint.
Bray alleges that he suffered
“significant emotional distress, shame, humiliation and
Larkin wrote that Starbucks “has not
articulated a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for its employees'